Home Page
Louisiana Anthology

Velazquez, Loreta Janeta.
Ed. by C. J. Worthington.
The Woman in Battle.


If I expected by this story of my adventures to achieve any literary reputation, I might be disposed, on account of its many faults of style, to ask the indulgence of those who will do me the honor to undertake its perusal. As, however, I only attempted authorship because I had, as others assured me, and as I myself believed, something to tell that was worth telling, I have been more concerned about the matter than the manner of my book, and I hope that the narrative will prove of sufficient interest to compensate for a lack of literary elegance in setting forth. Mine has been a life too busily occupied in other matters for me to cultivate the graces of authorship; and the best I can hope to do is to relate my story with simplicity and truth, and then let it find its fate, whether it be praise or condemnation.

The composition of this book has been a labor of love, and yet one of no ordinary difficulties. The loss of my notes has compelled me to rely entirely upon my memory; and memory is apt to be very treacherous, especially when, after a number of years, one endeavors to relate in their proper sequence a long series of complicated transactions. Besides, I have been compelled to write hurriedly, and in the intervals of pressing business, the necessities I have been under of earning my daily bread being such as could not be disregarded, even for the purpose of winning the laurels of authorship. To speak plainly, however, I care little for laurels of any kind just now, and am much more anxious for the money that I hope this book will bring in to me than I am for the praises of either critics or public. The money I want badly, while praise, although it will not be ungratifying, I am sufficiently philosophical to get along very comfortably without.

I do not know what the good people who will read this book will think of me. My career has differed materially from that of most women; and some things that I have done have shocked persons for whom I have every respect, however much my ideas of propriety may differ from theirs. I can only say, however, that in my opinion there was nothing essentially improper in my putting on the uniform of a Confederate officer for the purpose of taking an active part in the war; and, as when on the field of battle, in camp, and during long and toilsome marches, I endeavored, not without success, to display a courage and fortitude not inferior to the most courageous of the men around me, and as I never did aught to disgrace the uniform I wore, but, on the contrary, won the hearty commendation of my comrades, I feel that I have nothing to be ashamed of. Had I believed that my book needed any apologies on this score, it would never have been written; and, having written it, I am willing to submit my conduct to the judgment of the public, with a confidence that I will at least receive due credit for the motives by which I was animated.

In the preparation of this book for the press, I have been greatly aided by the gentleman who has consented to act as my editor. Although during the war he was on the other side, he has interested himself most heartily in assisting me to get my narrative into the best shape for presentation to the public, and has shown a remarkable skill in detecting and correcting errors into which I had inadvertently fallen. I take pleasure in acknowledging my indebtedness to him.

The book, such as it is, mdash; and I have tried to make it all that such a book should be by telling my story in as plain, straightforward, and unpretending a style as I could command, mdash; is now, for good or ill, out of my hands, and my adopted country people will have to decide for themselves whether the writing of it was worth the while or not.


THE frank egotism of such a narrative as is contained in the volume now in the hands of the reader needs no apology. Self-reliance, self-esteem, and self-approbation, all were necessary for the consummation of such adventures as those herein related; and, in the opinion of the editor, a chief merit in the book is the perfect unreserve with which its author gives to the world, not only the full particulars of her numerous daring exploits and adventures, but the motives by which she was influenced in undertaking them, and her impressions of men and events. Since the author has not seen fit to do so, the editor does not feel called upon to argue the question of propriety involved in the appearance of a woman disguised in male attire on the battle-field; but, with regard to some of the transactions in which Madame Velazquez was engaged during the progress of the great civil war, a few words of comment, explanatory rather than apologetic, seem to be required.

Some of these transactions were of a character that, under ordinary circumstances, would admit of no extenuation; but, in making up a judgment concerning them, several important facts must be constantly borne in mind. One of them is, that Madame Velazquez was acting as the agent of the only government to which she acknowledged allegiance, and that she considered herself as justified in aiding that government by every means in her power, as well by fighting its enemies in the field, as by embarrassing them by such attacks in the rear as are related in her narrative. This plea will, of course, be worth nothing to those who refuse to admit that for any purposes the Confederacy had a right to exist. It is necessary, however, to view matters of this kind from a different standpoint from this. The fact that the Federal Government was compelled to recognize the Confederates as belligerents, and was compelled to hold official intercourse with them, renders argument on this head unnecessary. Admitting that they were belligerents, they were justified, within certain limitations, in doing all in their power to defeat their enemies, not only by opposing them with armies in the field, but by demoralizing them by insidious attacks in the rear, and by hampering their efforts to keep their ranks full, and to provide the ways and means for maintaining the armies at the highest state of efficiency. Whatever view non-combatants might have taken of the war, the men who did the fighting were obliged to consider it, in a great measure, as a trial of skill and valor, and practically to disregard sentimental or political considerations. From a military point of view, therefore, what was proper and justifiable for one side, was proper and justifiable for the other, and will so be considered by impartial critics.

These remarks have particular reference to the portions of this narrative which relate the experiences of Madame Velazquez as a Confederate secret-service agent at the North during the last eighteen or twenty months of the war. It will be noticed that she speaks with undisguised contempt of some of her associates within the Federal lines, mdash; associates without whose aid she could never have accomplished the work she undertook. The unprejudiced reader will have no difficulty in understanding that their position and hers were vastly different. Some of these people were trusted officers of the government, were sworn to loyalty and fidelity, and were in the enjoyment of the full confidence of the public, as well as of their immediate superiors. Others were men who were loud in their protestations of loyalty, but who, while eager to be recognized as stanch supporters of the Federal government, were, for the sake of gain, secretly engaged in aiding the enemy by every means in their power. These people, and the shrewd, sharp woman who made use of them for the furtherance of the work she undertook to perform for the purpose of aiding the government to which she had given her allegiance in carrying on a gigantic contest, are surely not to be judged by the same standard; and that Madame Velazquez does not hesitate to relate the details of her transactions as a Confederate agent and spy, proves that she, at least, does not consider that she has done anything to be ashamed of, and is willing that her conduct shall be freely criticised.

To many readers, the story of Madame Velazquez's experiences in camp and on the battle-field while disguised as a Confederate officer, will, from the peculiarities of her position, have a particular interest. In the opinion of the editor, however, the most important part of the book is that in which a revelation is made, now for the first time, of the exact manner in which the Confederate secret-service system at the North was managed. There is no feature of the civil war that more needs to have light thrown on it than this; and, as the story which the heroine of the adventures herein set down recites, is an exceedingly curious one, it is deserving of the special consideration of the public, both North and South.

The editor of this volume was in the United States naval service from near the beginning to the end of the civil war; and as he gave his adhesion to the Union cause from principle rather than passion, and as he has never, either during the war or since its close, had other than the kindest feelings towards those who took the other side, under a sincere conviction that they were right, he not only had had no hesitation in preparing the narrative of Madame Velazquez for the press, but he feels that he can appreciate the motives which, from first to last, seem to have actuated her. The Southern people made a great mistake when they inaugurated the war; but it does not become those who fought in the Federal ranks to doubt, at this late day, the sincerity or honesty of purpose of the vast majority of them.

The great American civil war was an event that deserves to be judged dispassionately; and to judge it dispassionately, it is necessary that the people of both sections should understand each other better than they did while the conflict was being waged, or, indeed, than they do now. It is especially important that the people of the North, being the victors, and being in a great measure responsible for the present and future good government of the South, and for a proper appreciation there of the advantages of a cordial and fraternal, as well as a political union, should study the war from a Southern point of view. The present volume, the editor believes, is not only a most interesting narrative of adventure of a very exceptional kind, but it is an important and valuable contribution to the history of the war.

Madame Velazquez, whose enthusiasm for the cause of Southern independence induced her to discard the garments of her sex, and to assume male attire for the purpose of appearing upon the battle-field, is a typical Southern woman of the war period; and there are thousands of officers and soldiers who fought in the Confederate armies who can bear testimony, not only to the valor she displayed in battle, and under many circumstances of difficulty and danger, but to her integrity, her energy, her ability, and her unblemished reputation. Upon these points, however, it is not necessary to dilate; her story will speak for itself, and that it is a true story in every particular, there are abundant witnesses whose testimony will not be disputed.

As Madame Velazquez is a typical Southern woman of the war period, so her story furnishes a curious inside view of the Confederacy, and it throws much light on a great number of obscure points in its history. For this reason, if no other, it will deserve the attention of Northern readers, who will find many things stated in it which it is well for them to know. No commendation of any kind is needed to command for it the consideration of the people of the South. From the breaking out of the war to its close, the Confederate cause had no more enthusiastic or zealous supporter than the woman who was known as Lieutenant Harry T. Buford. According to her opportunities, she labored with unsurpassed zeal and efficiency, and with a disinterestedness that cannot but be admired.

With regard to the part performed by the editor in preparing this work for the press, it may be proper to say a few words. The manuscript, when it was placed in his hands, was found to be very minute and particular in some places, and rather meagre in others, where particularity seemed desirable. Having undertaken to get this material into proper shape, correspondence was opened with Madame Velazquez, and a number of interviews with her were had. A general plan having been agreed upon, it was left entirely to the judgment of the editor what to omit or what to insert,   Madame Velazquez agreeing to supply such information as was needed to make the story complete, in a style suitable for publication. From her correspondence, and from notes of her conversations, a variety of very interesting details, not in the original manuscript, were obtained and incorporated in the narrative. The editor, also, in several places has corrected palpable errors of time and place, and has added a few facts not supplied by the author. These corrections and additions have been made after consultation with the author, and with her entire approbation. In preparing her manuscript, Madame Velazquez seems to have endeavored to narrate the incidents of her career in the fullest manner possible; and it consequently contains a large amount of matter which can be of but very little, if any, interest to the general public. It has been necessary, therefore, while expanding in some places, to make large excisions in others; but the story is such an extraordinary one, in many of its aspects, that it has been judged better to give it in too great fulness, rather than to omit what the purchasers of the book would have a right to find in it. The excisions have, therefore, been carefully made, and it is believed that nothing has been omitted that is of value or importance. A few expressions that might needlessly give offence, have either been stricken out or altered, while some, which persons of severe taste may object to, have been permitted to remain as they were originally written, they being in some way characteristic of the writer, or of the circumstances under which she was placed. While Madame Velazquez does not pretend to any literary accomplishments, her style has a certain flavor which is far from unpleasant; and the editor has been careful, in making such changes and alterations as have seemed necessary, to retain the author's own words wherever practicable.

Owing to the loss of her diary, Madame Velazquez was compelled to write her narrative entirely from memory, which will account for the errors to which allusion has been made. Indeed, considering the multiplicity of events, it is very remarkable that she has been able to relate her story with any degree of accuracy. It is possible that, despite the pains that have been taken to make the narrative exact in every particular with regard to its facts, a few errors may have been permitted to remain uncorrected. These errors, however, are not material, and do not in any way impair the interest of the story.

Madame Velazquez is a very remarkable woman, and some account of her personal appearance, other than can be obtained from the portraits of her which are given in this book, will doubtless be appreciated by the reader. She is rather slender, something above medium height, has more than the average of good looks, is quick and energetic in her movements, and is very vivacious in conversation. Her frame is firmly knit, and she is evidently endowed with great powers of physical endurance. Those who have seen her in male attire say that her skill in disguising herself was very great, and that she readily passed for a man. At the same time she is anything but masculine, either in appearance, manners, or address. She is a shrewd, enterprising, and energetic business woman, and in society is a brilliant and most entertaining conversationalist, abounding in a fund of racy anecdotes, and endowed with a mimetic power that enables her to relate her anecdotes in the most telling manner. In New York, Philadelphia, and other Northern cities, as well as throughout the South and West, she has a large number of very warm friends, who hold her in the highest esteem on account of her eminent talents, her fascinating social qualities, and her unblemished reputation. It is to be hoped that the publication of the story of her checkered career will have the effect of increasing, rather than of diminishing, the number of these friends. Her story is a most remarkable one, in nearly every respect. During the war a number of women, on both sides, from time to time, performed spy duty, and several of them are said to have occasionally assumed male attire. Madame Velazquez, however, it is believed, is the only one of her sex, who, for any length of time, wore a masculine garb, or who participated as a combatant in a series of hard-fought battles. Narratives of the adventures of several heroines on the Federal side have been published, but none of them will at all compare in extent and variety of interest with the volume now before the reader, which has an additional claim on the regards of the public as being the only authentic account of the career of a Confederate heroine that has issued from the press.



The Woman in Battle. — Heroines of History. — Joan of Arc. — A Desire to emulate Her. — The Opportunity that was offered. — Breaking out of the War between the North and the South. — Determination to take part in the Contest. — A noble Ancestry. — The Velazquez Family. — My Birth at Havana. — Removal of my Family to Mexico. — The War between The United States and Mexico. — Loss of my Father's Estates. — Return of the Family to Cuba. — My early Education. — At School in New Orleans. — Castles in the Air. — Romantic Aspirations. — Trying to be a Man. — Midnight Promenades before the Mirror in Male Attire.

THE woman in battle is an infrequent figure on the pages of history, and yet, what would not history lose were the glorious records of the heroines, — the great-souled women, who have stood in the front rank where the battle was hottest and the fray most deadly, — to be obliterated? When women have rushed to the battle-field they have invariably distinguished themselves; and their courage, their enthusiasm, and their devotion to the cause espoused, have excited the brave among the men around them to do and to dare to the utmost, and have shamed the cowards into believing that it was worth while to peril life itself in a noble cause, and that honor to a soldier ought to be more valuable than even life. The records of the women who have taken up arms in the cause of home and country; who have braved the scandals of the camp; who have hazarded reputation, — reputation dearer than life, — and who have stood in the imminent deadly breach, defying the enemy, if not so imposing in numbers as those in which the deeds of male warriors are recited, are glorious nevertheless; and if steadfast courage, true-hearted loyalty, and fiery enthusiasm go for anything, women have nothing to blush for in the martial deeds of those of their sex who have stood upon the battle-field.

Far back in the early days of the Hebrew commonwealth Deborah rallied the despairing warriors of Israel, and led them to victory. Semiramis, the Queen of the Assyrians, commanded her armies in person. Tomyris, the Scythian queen, after the defeat of the army under the command of her son, Spargopises, took the field in person, and outgeneralling the Persian king, Cyrus, routed his vastly outnumbering forces with great slaughter, the king himself being among the slain. Boadicea, the British queen, resisted the Roman legions to the last, and fought the invaders with fury when not a man could be found to lead the islanders to battle. Bona Lombardi, an Italian peasant girl, fought in male attire by the side of her noble husband, Brunaro, on more than one hotly contested field; and on two occasions, when he had been taken prisoner and placed in close confinement, she effected his release by her skill and valor.

The Nun-Lieutenant.

Catalina de Eranso, the Monja Alferez, or the nun-lieutenant, who was born in the city of Sebastian, Spain, in 1585, was one of the most remarkable of the heroines who have distinguished themselves by playing the masculine rôle, and venturing into positions of deadly peril. This woman, becoming disgusted with the monotony of convent life, made her escape, and in male garb joined one of the numerous expeditions then fitting out for the New World. Her intelligence and undaunted valor soon attracted the notice of her superior officers, and she was rapidly promoted. Participating in a number of hard-fought battles, she won the reputation of being an unusually skilful and daring soldier, and would have achieved both fame and fortune, were it not that her fiery temper embroiled her in frequent quarrels with her associates. One of her many disagreements resulted in a duel, in which she had the misfortune to kill her antagonist, and, to escape the vengeance of his friends, she was compelled to fly. After traversing a large portion of the New World, and encountering innumerable perils, she returned to Europe, where she found that the trumpet of fame was already heralding her name, and that there was the greatest curiosity to see her. Travelling through Spain and Italy, she had numerous exceedingly romantic adventures; and while in the last named country she managed to obtain an interview with Pope Urban VIII., who was so pleased with her appearance and her conversation that he granted her permission to wear male attire during the balance of her life.

Within the past hundred years more than one heroine has stamped her name indelibly upon the role of fame. All Amercans know how brave Molly Pitcher, at the battle of Monmouth, busied herself in carrying water to the parched and wearied soldiers, and how, when her husband was shot down at his gun, instead of woman fashion, sorrowing for him with unavailing tears, she sprang to take his place, and through the long, hot summer's day fought the foreign emissaries who were seeking to overthrow the liberties of her country, until, with decimated ranks they fled, defeated from the field.

At the seige of Saragossa, in 1808, when Palafox, and the men under his command, despaired of being able to resist the French, Agostino, "the maid of Saragossa," appeared upon the scene, and with guerra al cuchillo — "war to the knife" — as her battle-cry, she inspired the general and his soldiers to fight to the last in resisting the French invaders, and by her words and deeds became the leading spirit in one of the most heroic defences of history.

Appolonia Jagiello.

Nearer our own time Appolonia Jagiello fought valiantly for the liberation of Poland and Hungary. She had kingly blood in her veins, and her heart burned within her at the wrongs which her native country, Poland, suffered at the hands of her oppressors. When the insurrection at Cracow took place, in 1846, she assumed male attire, and went into the thickest of the fight. The insurrection was a failure, although it might not have been had the men who began it been as stout-hearted and as enthusiastic in a great cause as Appolonia Jagiello. In 1848 she participated in another outbreak at Cracow, and distinguished herself as one of the most valorous of the combatants. After the failure of this attempt at rebellion she went to Vienna, where she took part in an engagement in the faubourg Widen. Her object in visiting the Austrian capital, however, was chiefly to ascertain the exact character of the struggle which was in progress, in order to carry information to the Hungarians. After numerous perilous adventures she joined the Hungarian forces, and fought at the battle of Enerzey, in which the Austrians were defeated, and on account of the valor she displayed was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. After this she joined an expedition under General Klapka, which assaulted an took the city of Raab. When the Hungarians were finally defeated and there was no longer any hope that either Hungary or Poland would gain their independence, Mademoiselle Jagiello came to the United States, in 1848, with other refugees, and for a number of years resided in the city of Washington, respected and beloved by all who knew her. No braver soldier than this lady ever trod the field of battle, while the universal testimony of all who were honored with her acquaintance is, that she was a most womanly woman, and was lacking in nothing that makes true womanhood esteemed by right-thinking people.

Joan Of Arc.

But, whenever I think of the women who have distinguished themselves in battle, my affections turn to the greatest and noblest of them all, and my imagination fires with a desire to emulate the glorious deeds of Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans. A religious enthusiast, as well as a born leader of men, and a martial genius of the first order, this great woman infused, by the power of her matchless eloquence, courage and determination into the heart of a weak, cowardly, and vacillating king, and then, seizing the banner of France, she rallied the defeated and demoralized armies, and led them with terrible effect against the British foe. At last, betrayed into the hands of her enemies, she suffered with all the unbending courage of her heroic nature, a martyrdom at the stake, which, while it embalmed her memory in the hearts of the French people, covered with shame the names of the cowardly ruffians who decreed her death on a pretended charge, because they were afraid to let her live for fear that her existence, even as a prisoner, would be a perpetual menace to them, and a perpetual encouragement to the French people to fight to the death. The statue of Joan of Arc, chiselled by the fair hands of a French princess, stands to-day in the market-place at Rouen where she suffered, and the memory of her glorious deeds as a great-hearted patriot remains to all time as an example of what a woman may do if she only dares, and dares to do greatly.

From my early childhood Joan of Arc was my favorite heroine; and many a time has my soul burned with an overwhelming desire to emulate her deeds of valor, and to make for myself a name which, like hers, would be enrolled in letters of gold among the women who had the courage to fight like men — ay, better than most men — for a great cause, for friends, and for father-land.

At length an opportunity offered, in the breaking out of the conflict between the North and the South in 1861, for me to carry out my long-cherished ideas; and it was embraced with impetuous eagerness, combined with a calm determination to see the thing through, and to shrink from nothing that such a step would involve.

My opportunities and my circumstances were different from those of my ideal woman, Joan of Arc, and consequently my story has but little resemblance to hers. I did all that it was possible for me to do, however, for the cause I espoused, and the great French heroine did no more. Happily I escaped her dreadful fate, and live to relate the many adventures that befell me while playing the part of a warrior. So many persons have assured me that my story — prosaic as much of it seems to me — is full of romance, and that it cannot fail to interest readers both South and North, that I have been induced to narrate it for the benefit of those who wish to make the acquaintance of a woman warrior, and to be entertained, and perhaps instructed, by a recital of her adventures. If there are any such, — and I am sure there are, — they will find in these pages an unaffected and unpretending, but truthful, and I hope interesting narrative of what befell me while attached to the army of the Confederate States of America, and while performing services other than those of a strictly military character under the pseudonyme of Lieutenant Harry T. Buford.

Hundreds, nay thousands of officers and men in the Confederate service, knew me well under this name, and although my disguise was finally penetrated, and I was forced to resume the garments of my sex, it is probable that a vast number of my late associates will now for the first time learn that the handsome young officer — I was accounted an uncommonly good-looking fellow, when dressed in my best uniform, in those days — was a woman, and a woman who was mentally making some very uncomplimentary notes with regard to much of their very naughty conversation. My experience is, that the language used by the very best men in masculine society is too often not such as pure-minded women would like to listen to, while that of the worst is so utterly revolting, that it is a pity some men cannot always have decent women at their elbows to keep their tongues from being fouled with blasphemy and obscenity. I hope that some of my late associates, when they learn that the Lieutenant Harry T. Buford, whose ears were so often greeted by their profanity and ribaldry, will have enough self-respect to blush with shame at having addressed the language they did to a woman, and a modest woman at that.

What I have just said will give a hint of some of the most unpleasant incidentals of the rôle which I undertook to play. I was not to be deterred, however, from carrying out my plans by the bad language I was compelled to listen to, nor by any other of the disagreeable features of camp life. How well I did play my part, happily does not depend upon my own testimony alone, for some of the most distinguished officers of the Confederate army, and many equally distinguished civilians, can and will testify to the truthfulness of the story I am about to relate, and to the unblemished character I bore while in the Confederate service. I not only assumed the garment of my sex once more with the credit of having done the state some important services, and of having labored with efficiency, courage, and energy to secure the independence of the Confederacy, but, with my womanly reputation unblemished by even a suspicion of impropriety; and I take this occasion to say, in a very positive manner, that women, if they will, may pass through the most trying scenes with unblemished reputations, and that they have much more to dread in this particular matter from the scandalous gossip of city, village, and country neighborhoods, than they have from camp associations, with all their license of language and conduct.

The Velazquez Family.

I have every reason to be proud of the name I bear, and of the ancestry from whom I inherited it. My father's family is a very ancient one, and the blood which flows in my veins is that of Castilian nobles, whose deeds are intimately connected with some of the most impressive episodes of Spanish history. Reckless as some portions of my own career may seem to unthinking persons, I have the satisfaction of knowing, in my own soul, that by no act of mine has the noble name of Velazquez been brought into discredit, and that at all times, and under the most discouraging circumstances, I have ever upheld my own honor and that of my family.

Both in Spain and in the Spanish dominions on this side of the Atlantic, is the name of Velazquez well known and highly honored. Don Diego Velazquez, the conqueror and the first governor of Cuba, under whose superintendence the expedition which discovered Mexico was sent out, was one of my ancestors, and Don Diego Rodriguez Velazquez, the greatest artist that Spain ever produced, was a member of my family. It will thus be seen that I came of excellent, although somewhat fiery and headstrong stock, and, if in assuming the garments of a man, and endeavoring to do a man's work on the battle-field, I transgressed against the conventionalities of modern society, the reader will, I am sure, charitably attribute some of the blame to the adventuresome blood of old Governor Don Diego, which I inherited, and, which fired my brain and steeled my nerves when there was a prospect held out that, despite the fact of my being a woman, I might be able to enjoy the excitements of the battlefield, and win for myself a warrior's fame.

My father was a native of the city of Carthagena, and he received a very thorough education at the universities of Madrid and Paris. He was an accomplished Latin, French and German scholar, and spoke all these languages fluently. English he paid but little attention to until alter his marriage with my mother. Like all the members of his family, he was a very strict Catholic. Two of his brothers being in the Spanish army, and his tastes inclining him to the life of a civilian, a diplomatic appointment was procured for him, and he went to Paris as an attaché of the Spanish embassy.

It was while residing in Paris that my father became acquainted with the lady whom he married, and made the mother of his children. My mother was the daughter of a French naval officer, by an American lady, the daughter of a wealthy merchant. She, of course, spoke English fluently, and tried to instruct my father in it. He managed, in time, to understand it very well, but he never spoke it without some accent. My father's marriage occurred a short time before the expiration of his term of office, and after his recall to Spain he took up his residence in the city of Madrid, where three sons and two daughters were born.

My Birth.

In 1840 my father was appointed to an official position in Cuba, and two years later I, his sixth and last child, came into the world in a house on the Calle Velaggas, near the walls in the city of Havana, on the 26th of June, 1842. I was christened Loreta Janeta.

When I was almost one year old, my father fell heir to a large estate in Texas, which was then a part of the republic of Mexico. He accordingly resigned his position as an employee of the Spanish government in Cuba, and in 1844 removed with his family to San Luis Potosi, in Central Mexico. His property consisted of a very large tract of land and immense herds of cattle, and as he was a careful and accurate business man, the probabilities are, that in a short time he would have become one of the wealthiest landed proprietors of that region. Unfortunately we had scarcely been settled in our new home a twelvemonth, when the war between Mexico and the United States broke out. I was too young at the time, of course, to recollect anything of this memorable contest, although it had a potent influence on my own destiny.

The Mexican War.

My father, so soon as war was declared, decided to take part in the conflict, and offered his services to the Mexican government to assist in expelling the invaders. His offer was accepted, and he received a commission as an officer in the army. Sending his family to the Island of St. Lucia, one of the British West Indian provinces, where my mother's only brother resided, he took the field, and fought until the end of the war against the forces of the United States. During the conflict his estates were devastated and his property destroyed, and this, combined with the non-success of the Mexican arms, greatly imbittered him against the Americans, and this bitterness he retained till the day of his death.

When the war was ended, and a large portion of the northern part of Mexico ceded to the United States, my father, whose estates were included in this territory, refused to live under a government which he disliked so intensely, and he consequently abandoned his property and went to Santiago de Cuba, where he was rejoined by his family. In the mean time he had fallen heir to another valuable estate at Puerto de Palmas, and settling upon it, he engaged actively in the sugar, tobacco, and coffee trade. The profits on these articles being very large, he speedily acquired great wealth, and was able to surround his family with every luxury.

While we were residing on the Puerto de Palmas plantation an English governess was employed to conduct my education. I remained under this good lady's instruction until 1849, learning the elementary branches, and acquiring a fair knowledge of the English language. In that year my father, at my mother's urgent solicitation, determined to send me to New Orleans for the purpose of completing my education. I accordingly took up my abode with Madame R., my mother's only surviving sister, who resided in Rue Esplanade, New Orleans. My aunt was rather strict with me, but she took much pains with my education, and for two years I studied under her supervision, mainly devoting myself to acquiring an accurate knowledge of English, so as to be able to read, write, and speak it with fluency. Having become reasonably proficient in such studies as were assigned me by my aunt, I was sent to the school conducted by the Sisters of Charity, to learn the ornamental branches. Here I remained until the romantic clandestine marriage, which did so much towards shaping my future career, took place.

Dreams Of Glory.

From my earliest recollections my mind has been filled with aspirations, of the most ardent possible kind, to fill some great sphere. I expended all my pocket money, not in candies and cakes, as most girls are in the habit of doing, but in the purchase of books which related the events of the lives of kings, princes, and soldiers. The story of the siege of Orleans, in particular, I remember, thrilled my young heart, fired my imagination, and sent my blood bounding through my veins with excitement. Joan of Arc became my heroine, and I longed for an opportunity to become such another as she. I built air-castles without number, and in my day-dreams I was fond of imagining myself as the hero of most stupendous adventures. I wished that I was a man, such a man as Columbus or Captain Cook, and could discover new worlds, or explore unknown regions of the earth. I could not even write a social letter to my father to inform him of the state of my health, or my educational progress, without putting in it some romantic project which I had on hand. This propensity of mine evidently annoyed him greatly, for he frequently reprimanded me with much severity, although he took no measures to remove me from influences which were certainly not unattended with danger to a girl of my impulsive and imaginative disposition; so that it is no wonder I was soon engaged in a romantic escapade which gave my family great offense and anxiety.

I was especially haunted with the idea of being a man; and the more I thought upon the subject, the more I was disposed to murmur at Providence for having created me a woman. While residing with my aunt, it was frequently my habit, after all in the house had retired to bed at night, to dress myself in my cousin's clothes, and to promenade by the hour before the mirror, practicing the gait of a man, and admiring the figure I made in masculine raiment. I wished that I could only change places with my brother Josea. If I could have done so I would never have been a doctor, but would have marked out for myself a military career, and have disported myself in the gay uniform of an officer.


My Betrothal. — Love Matches and Marriages of Convenience. — Some new Ideas picked up from my Schoolmates. — A new Lover appears upon the Field. — I Figure as a Rival to a Friend. — Love's Young Dream. — A new Way of popping the Question. — A Clandestine Marriage. — Displeasure of my Family. — Life as the Wife of an Army Officer. — The Mormon Expedition. — Birth of my first Child, and Reconciliation with my Family. — Commencement of the War between the North and South. — Death of my Children. — Resignation of my Husband from the Army. — My Determination to take Part in the coming Conflict as a Soldier. — Opposition of my Husband to my Schemes.

SOME time previous to my admission to the Sisters' school, I was betrothed to a young Spaniard, Raphael R., in accordance with plans which my relatives had formed with regard to me, and without any action on my part. Indeed, my consent was not asked, my parents, thinking that they were much better qualified to arrange a suitable alliance than I was, and that, provided other things were satisfactory, love was something of minor importance, that could very well be left to take care of itself They were mistaken, however, as other parents have been in similar cases, for, like a good many girls, as soon as I was old enough to do much thinking for myself, I had no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that the choice of a husband was something I ought to have a voice in.

I had been educated under very old-fashioned ideas with regard to the duties which children owe to their parents, for, among my father's country people, children, even when they have arrived at years of discretion, are supposed to be under the authority of their father and mother, and marriages for love, having their origin in a spontaneous affection of young people for each other, are very rare. It is the custom in Spain, and among the Spanish people in America, for the parents to make what they consider suitable matches for their children, and the young people are expected to accept any arrangement that may be concluded in their behalf, without murmuring.

This does not seem to be the proper way of conducting such an important piece of business as marriage, and it is very contrary to the notions which are common in the United States. A good deal, however, could be said in favor of it, and it is certain that quite as large a number of marriages of convenience, such as are usual in Europe, turn out happily as of the love matches which are usual in the United States. The fact is, that the majority of young people really do not know their own minds, and they often fancy themselves in love when they are not. Marriage undeceives them, and then they wish that they had exercised a little more discretion, and had not been in quite such a hurry. On the other hand, in a marriage of convenience, if the parties are at all suited to each other, and are at all disposed to make the best of the situation, they soon become affectionate, and love after marriage is, perhaps, in reality, the most likely to be enduring. As a general principle, however, there can be no doubt that a couple ought to be fond of each other before marriage, and if a young man and young woman of proper age, and with the means to start housekeeping, fall in love, and want to get married, parents do wrong to oppose them unless there are some very serious reasons for so doing.

A marriage by parental arrangement was the last thing in the world to suit a scatter-brained, romantic girl like myself, whose head was filled with all sorts of wild notions, and it is not to be wondered at, therefore, that I rebelled. When I was betrothed to Raphael, however, I had not the slightest notion of objecting; and although I did not feel a particle of affection for him, I accepted him for my future husband, as a matter of course, and received his visits with a proper degree of complacency, if not with any great demonstrations of regard.

I had not been long in the school, however, when, from my association with American girls, I obtained considerable enlightenment on a good many subjects about which I had previously been profoundly ignorant; and concerning this matter of marriage, in particular, I learned that it was not considered the correct thing at all for the parents of a young lady to pick out a husband for her. The girls, when they found that I was betrothed without my own consent, were at a great deal of pains to inform me that this was a free country, and that one of the chief blessings of living in a free country was, that a girl could not be compelled to marry any particular man if she did not choose to do so.

This kind of talk excited me very much and I began to wish to break my engagement with Raphael, even before a rival stepped in to secure the affections which belonged to him, according to the arrangement my parents had made. I did not see my way very clear, however, and probably would have married him eventually, had not a more acceptable lover put in an appearance. Some of the girls professed to know a good deal about the law, and insisted that if my parents wished to force me to marry against my own consent, I could defy their authority, and appeal to the courts to allow me to choose a guardian. Such a course as this, however, I knew would sever me from my family; and as I had the fondest regard for my dear father and mother, I dreaded to find myself cut off, disinherited, and thrown upon the charity of strangers. I consequently took no steps to get rid of Raphael until I chanced to make the acquaintance of a young American army officer who was paying particular attention to one of my schoolmates, Nellie V.

A Real Lover.

Nellie was a beautiful girl, of about sixteen years of age, and a very warm regard subsisted between us up to the time of her discovery that I was endeavoring to capture her lover. Her affection for me did not last long after that, and she said a great many disagreeable things about me, for which I have long since forgiven her, as I doubt not she has me for running away with her handsome young officer.

He was indeed a handsome young officer, and his manly and graceful appearance, especially when attired in his brilliant uniform, made such an impression on my heart, that I soon could think of nothing else. I found now that love was a reality, and my thoughts by day and my dreams by night had no other object than the gentleman who, while paying his assiduous attentions to Nellie, never imagined what ravages he was making in the heart of her schoolmate. I learned to hate Raphael, and his attempts to make himself agreeable to me only served to increase my dislike. Of Nellie I soon became savagely jealous, and was ready to cry with rage and vexation whenever I saw her lover paying her any delicate attentions. We, however, to all appearances, continued fast friends, it was not for several months that she discovered I was her rival. The object of my devotion was also profoundly ignorant of my feelings towards him, and I had not the courage to tell him. At length I became desperate, and determined at the earliest opportunity to acquaint the young officer with the affection I entertained for him.

Declaration Of Love.

The wished-for opportunity finally offered. One evening Nellie and I agreed to exchange partners, for the purpose of finding out how much they loved us. Raphael did not fancy this manoeuvre a bit, but submitted to it with as good a grace as possible. The officer and myself managed to get out of ear-shot of the other couple, but, now that the opportunity I had sighed for was mine, I was afraid to open my mouth on the subject nearest my heart. I trembled all over, but was determined before we separated to let him know the state of my heart. Finding that I had not courage to speak, I wrote a few words in his pocket diary, which told him everything.

He was intensely surprised; but he declared, with much warmth, that he had long wished to speak with me on this very matter, and would have done so, were it not that he thought I was betrothed, and that under any circumstances there would be no chance for an American to win my affections. My new lover behaved in the most honorable manner, for, as soon as he obtained my consent for him to pay his addresses, he went to my aunt, and asked permission to visit at her house. She granted his request, with the condition that he was to understand that I was betrothed, and would demean himself towards me accordingly. This condition he listened to, but with a determination to pay little heed to it, his main object being accomplished in securing the right to see me without fear of being interfered with.

When my lover began to appear at my aunt's as a pretty constant visitor, Raphael was quick to suspect him as a rival, who was more highly appreciated than himself, and became furiously jealous. I cannot tell what torture I suffered in endeavoring to be amiable to a man whom I hated, in order that I might prevent an explosion which would deprive me of the society of the one I really loved with the most devoted fondness. Finally Raphael, unable to endure the sight of his rival constantly in attendance upon me, and evidently finding extreme favor in my eyes, prevailed upon my aunt to forbid him admittance to the house, on the plea that he was becoming altogether too intimate with the betrothed of another. This gratified Raphael's malignity, and it was a severe blow to both of us. Although we could not meet on the same pleasantly familiar terms as before, we were resolved not to be separated, for we were now too much in love to be willing to give each other up. In spite of my aunt's endeavors to keep us apart, and in spite of Raphael's jealous vigilance, William — for that was my lover's name — found means to carry on a correspondence with me, to meet me at the houses of mutual friends, and to speak to me on the street on my way to and from school. Raphael, who took pains to have us closely watched, informed my aunt of what was going on, and I was accordingly threatened with being locked up in a convent, or with being sent back to Cuba, if I did not conduct myself with more propriety. I was horror-stricken at the idea of either fate, but as I knew my aunt to be a very determined woman, who would certainly carry out her threat if I did not take measures to place it out of her power to do so, I was not long in making up my mind what course to follow, and having fixed upon a plan of action, I only awaited a suitable opportunity to put it into execution.

The opportunity I sighed for was not long in offering itself; for one evening, as I was sitting at my window, in company with a young French creole girl, I saw William pass and look up. I waved my handkerchief in salutation, and he recognized the signal by raising his cap. I then asked the young lady if she would not do me the favor of taking a letter to him, and of permitting us to have an interview at her home. She readily consented; and carrying a hastily written note to William, soon returned with an answer, to the effect that he would meet me in an hour's time. My aunt did not permit me to go out alone in the evening; but as she suspected nothing wrong in the proposed visit to my friend's house, she consented, without hesitation, for me to go under the escort of one of the servants. As my escort, of course, on our arrival at the rendezvous, remained with the servants of the house, I was able to converse with William without fear of espial, or of being interrupted.

A Runaway Match.

My lover informed me that he expected soon to be ordered to one of the frontier posts. He declared that he could not exist without me, and proposed that we should elope, and get married privately. As this was my own plan exactly, I gave my consent, without any hesitation, the moment the proposition was made. On a little reflection, however, my conscience began to trouble me, for I knew that I should not be doing right; so I told him I would prefer that he should make an open and straightforward proposition for my hand to my parents. I considered that it was a duty I owed them to ask their consent first, but promised, if they opposed the marriage, that I would not let their disapprobation interfere with the consummation of our wishes. William himself thought that this was the proper and honorable course to pursue, and he accordingly wrote to my father, and asked his permission to marry me. A reply to his request was not long forthcoming, in which he was reprimanded in very harsh terms for daring to make it, knowing me to be the betrothed of another. This settled the matter; and accordingly, on the 5th of April, 1856, we were clandestinely married.

I told no one of the step I had taken, and remained at my aunt's, on the same apparent footing as before, until the following October, meeting William privately, when I could do so without being observed, but taking more pains to prevent our interviews from being noted than I had done previous to our marriage. At length I had a furious quarrel with my aunt on account of Raphael. She reproached me in severe terms for my conduct towards him; and I replied by discarding him, and refusing to have anything more to do with him. My aunt was extremely indignant; and finding me obdurate, threatened to put me in the convent at Baton Rouge. I was terribly frightened at this, and concluded that it was time for me to act with decision. I accordingly informed my husband of the situation, and he came immediately and claimed me as his wife, presenting the certificate of marriage to my horror-stricken relative.

This was a terrible blow to my aunt, but a greater one to my parents, especially to my father, who idolized me. My father's indignation got the better of his affection, and he promptly informed me that I might consider myself as repudiated and disinherited. The pangs this cruel message caused me were intense, but I was consoled with the lavish affection bestowed upon me by my handsome young husband, and with the thought that, in course of time, my parents would relent, and be willing to again receive me as their daughter.

With the exception of my estrangement from my family, there was but one thing that interfered with my happiness. My husband was a Protestant, and desired me to believe as he did. It required a hard struggle for me to forsake the faith in which I had been educated; but eventually I learned to think as my husband did about religious matters, and became a member of the Methodist church.

My separation from my family caused me much grief, but I tried hard not to let my husband see how much I suffered. I entered as far as possible into his thoughts and wishes, and only gratified a natural taste by giving a large portion of my time to the study of military tactics. I longed for a war to break out, and resolved that if one did occur, I would follow my husband to the battle-field, and minister to him, even if I was not allowed to fight by his side.

The Mormon Expedition.

In 1857 there appeared to be a chance that my martial aspiration would be gratified. The government organized an expedition against the Mormons, and my husband was ordered to accompany it. In the mean time, however, I had become a mother; and much as I desired to accompany the army to Utah, I was forced to acknowledge the impracticability of a journey across the plains with an infant in my arms, and was compelled to submit to remaining behind.

When my baby came into the world I yearned more than ever to be reconciled with my family, and, with my husband's consent, wrote to my mother and to my favorite brother, who, but a few months before, had graduated with distinction from the College de France. This brother had long since forgiven me, and, in confederation with my mother, had labored to soften the heart of my father towards me. On the receipt of the letter announcing the birth of my child, and my earnest desire to be forgiven for my fault, they worked so successfully on the feelings of my father, that, after a somewhat stubborn resistance, he yielded, and consented to have my mother and brother visit me in St. Louis. My brother, after becoming acquainted with my husband, esteemed him highly, and finally the bad feeling which had been caused by my clandestine marriage wore away, my father alone treating me with a coolness which he had never previously shown. When I met him for the first time after my marriage, he turned his cheek to me, saying, "You can never impress a kiss on my lips after a union with my country's enemy," — from which I concluded that it was not so much my marriage without his consent, as my alliance with an American soldier that imbittered him.

After the Mormon expedition had returned, my husband met me at New Orleans, and from thence took me to Fort Leavenworth, then a remote frontier town. The living accommodations at this place were miserable, and the cooking, especially, was atrociously bad. I bore every discomfort, however, without a murmur, out of deference to my husband's feelings, and in every way endeavored to make myself as little of a burden to him as possible. In course of time I became a good American in thought and manner, and despite the inconveniences of life at a frontier post, was as happy as I could wish to be.

In the spring of 1860 I returned to St. Louis, while my husband went to Fort Arbuckle. During his separation from me, our third babe was born and died. In October of the same year he returned, having received a summons from his father — a resident of Texas — to the effect that there was reason to believe a war was about to break out between the North and the South, and desiring him to resign.

About this time my two remaining children died of fever, and my grief at their loss probably had a great influence in reviving my old notions about military glory, and of exciting anew my desires to win fame on the battle-field. I was dreadfully afraid that there would be no war, and my spirits rose and sank as the prospects of a conflict brightened or faded. When my husband's State determined to secede, I brought all my influence to bear to induce him to resign his commission in the United States army, and my persuasions, added to those of his father, finally induced him, very reluctantly, to yield. It was a great grief for him to forsake the uniform he had worn so long with honor, and to sever the bonds which existed between him and his comrades. He much doubted, too, the wisdom of the Southern States in taking the action they did, and wished most sincerely that the political difficulties which caused their secession could be settled in some other manner than by an armed conflict.

As for me, I was perfectly wild on the subject of war; and although I did not tell my husband so, I was resolved to forsake him if he raised his sword against the South. I felt that now the great opportunity of my life had arrived, and my mind was busy night and day in planning schemes for making my name famous above that of any of the great heroines of history, not even excepting my favorite, Joan of Arc. Having decided to enter the Confederate service as a soldier, I desired, if possible, to obtain my husband's consent, but he would not listen to anything I had to say on the subject; and all I could do was to wait his departure for the seat of war, in order to put my plans into execution without his knowledge, as I felt that it would be useless to argue with him, although I was obstinately bent upon realizing the dream of my life, whether he approved of my course or not.


A Wedding Anniversary. — Preparing for my Husband's Departure for the Seat of War. — My Desire to accompany him. — His Arguments to dissuade me. — My First Appearance in Public in Male Attire. — A Bar-room Scene. — Drinking Success to the Confederacy. — My First Cigar. — A Tour of the Gambling-Houses and Drinking-Saloons. — The unpleasant Points of Camp Life set forth in strong Colors. — Departure of my Husband. — Donning Male Attire. — My First Suit of Male Clothing. — Description of my Disguise. — The Practicability of a Woman disguising herself effectively. — Some of the Features of Army Life. — What Men think of Women Soldiers.

THE fifth anniversary of our wedding was celebrated in a very quiet fashion at the old Commercial Hotel, Memphis, Tennessee. We passed the day pretty much in our own room, packing trunks and preparing for my husband's departure for Richmond, where he expected to meet some of his old army friends, such as General Robert E. Lee, General Reynolds, Captain Bernard Bee, and Captain Cabell, who had linked their fortunes with those of the South. His hardest struggle had been to throw off the uniform he had so long worn; but, that deed having once been consummated, it was not difficult for me to persuade him to offer his sword to the South, especially when so many of his old friends of the United States army were arraying themselves in antagonism to the flag under which they had once fought.

While preparing for his departure, on the anniversary of our wedding, we talked over the whole situation; and I cannot tell how proud and delighted I felt when he attired himself in his elegant new gray uniform. He never looked handsomer in his life, and I not only gave full vent to my admiration, but insisted upon broaching my favorite scheme again. My husband desired me to go to Galveston, and to write to my father to meet me there; but my heart was set upon accompanying him to the seat of war, and I would listen to no other arrangement. He used every possible argument to dissuade me from my purpose, representing the difficulties and dangers in the darkest colors, and contending that it would be impossible for him to permit his wife to follow an undisciplined army of volunteers. The situation, he told me, was entirely different from anything I had ever been accustomed to, and that the hordes of rude, coarse men collected together in a camp in an emergency like this, would have but little resemblance to the regular troops in garrison with whom I had been familiar; and that a delicately nurtured and refined woman would find camp life, during such a war as that just commencing, simply intolerable. He was not to be persuaded, while I turned a deaf ear to all his remonstrances, and persisted in arguing the point with him to the last.

First Assumption Of Male Attire.

Finally, my husband, finding that his words made no impression, thought he would be able to cure me of my erratic fancies by giving me an insight into some of the least pleasing features of masculine life. The night before his departure, therefore, he permitted me to dress myself in one of his suits, and said he would take me to the bar-rooms and other places of male resort, and show me something of what I would be compelled to go through with if I persisted in unsexing myself. Braiding my hair very close, I put on a man's wig, and a false mustache, and by tucking my pantaloons in my boots, as I had seen men do frequently, and otherwise arranging the garments, which were somewhat large for me, I managed to transform myself into a very presentable man. As I surveyed myself in the mirror I was immensely pleased with the figure I cut, and fancied that I made quite as good looking a man as my husband. My toilet once completed, it was not long before we were in the street, I doing my best to walk with a masculine gait, and to behave as if I had been accustomed to wear pantaloons all my life. I confess, that when it actually came to the point of appearing in public in this sort of attire, my heart began to fail me a little; but I was bent on going through with the thing, and so, plucking up courage, I strode along by the side of my husband with as unconcerned an air as it was possible for me to put on.

Presently we crossed over to a bar-room, which we found nearly filled with men smoking and drinking, and doing some pretty tall talking about the war, and the style in which the Yankees were going to be wiped out. To judge by the conversation, every man present was full of fight, and was burning with a furious desire to meet the enemy. I was too frightened and bewildered by the novelty of my situation to pay very close attention to all I saw and heard, but it flashed upon me that some of these loud-talking, hard-drinking, and blaspheming patriots were not so valiant, after all, as they professed to be. My after experiences fully confirmed my first impressions, that the biggest talkers are not always the best fighters, and that a good many men will say things over a glass of whiskey in a bar-room, who won't do a tenth part of what they say if they are once placed within smelling distance of gunpowder.

I had scarcely time to take a good look at the room and its occupants, when my husband caught sight of a couple of men who had belonged to his regiment, and who were very particular friends of mine. I was dreadfully afraid they would recognize me, but there was no escaping from them, as they came up so soon as they saw us, and I was introduced as a young fellow who was on a visit to Memphis to see the sights and to pick up war news.


My husband treated, he and his two comrades taking something strong, while I, in accordance with the instructions given me before starting out, called for a glass of cider, only a part of which I imbibed. After a little conversation, my husband whispered to me to call for the next treat. I was getting to be somewhat disgusted with the whole business, but was bound not to break down; so, stepping up to the bar, I invited the party, with as masculine a manner as I could put on, to drink with me. This time I took a glass of sarsaparilla, and when all had their drinks poured out, raising my tumbler, I cried out, "Gentlemen, here's to the success of our young Confederacy."

As I said this, my heart was almost ready to jump out of my throat. The men, however, gave a rousing cheer, and one of them yelled out, "We drink that toast every time, young fellow."

He then put his hand into his pocket, as if about to get his money to pay for the drinks, but I prevented him, saying, "Excuse me, sir, this is my treat," and laid a twenty dollar gold piece on the counter. Each of us then took a cigar, I watching to see how they managed theirs before daring to put mine in my mouth. After I had gotten a light, I was not able to take more than three or four whiffs, for my head began to swim, and I knew if I kept on I should soon be deathly sick. As it was, I did not feel at all comfortable, but thought I could bear up, and said nothing for fear of being laughed at.

I was very glad to get out of the bar-room, and into the fresh air again; so, bidding our friends good night, we started off, I throwing my cigar away at the first opportunity I had of doing so without being observed. Eager to hear my husband's opinion, I asked him if he did not think I played my part pretty well. He replied, "O, yes;" but I could see that he was very much dissatisfied with the whole performance. Before returning to the hotel we made a general tour of the city, visiting all the principal gambling-houses and saloons, my husband evidently hoping I should be so shocked with what I saw and heard that I should be ready to give up my wild scheme without further talk about it.

When we were once more in our room he locked the door, and, throwing himself on the lounge, said, "Well, don't you feel pretty much disgusted?"

To please him I said, "Yes;" adding, however, "but then I can stand anything to be with you, and to serve the sunny South."

"Now, Loreta," said he, "I have done this to-night for the purpose of showing you what men are like, and how they behave themselves when they are out of the sight and hearing of decent women, whom they are forced to respect. What you have seen and heard, however, is nothing to what you will be compelled to see and hear in camp, where men are entirely deprived of female society, and are under the most demoralizing influences. The language that will constantly greet your ears, and the sights that will meet your eye in camp, where thousands of men are congregated, are simply indescribable; and it is out of all reason that you should even think of associating in the manner you propose with soldiers engaged in warfare."

This, with a good deal of the same kind of talk, convinced me that he would never give his consent to my project; so I pretended to be satisfied with his arguments, but was, nevertheless, resolved more firmly than ever, so soon as he took his departure, to put my plans into execution. I waited impatiently for him to leave, intending to give him a genuine surprise when next we met, and to show him that his wife was as good a soldier as he, and was bent upon doing as much or more for the cause which both had at heart. For the present, however, I said nothing concerning my intentions.

My Husband's Departure.

On the 8th of April my husband started for Richmond, apparently under the impression that, as I had said nothing for several days about accompanying him, I had abandoned all notion of doing so. He ought to have known me better, and to have been assured that a woman of my obstinate temper was not to be prevented by mere argument from carrying out a pet scheme which promised such glorious results as the one we had been discussing.

My husband's farewell kisses were scarcely dry upon my lips, when I made haste to attire myself in one of his suits, and to otherwise disguise myself as a man, as well as was practicable with such material as I had at hand. The first thing to be done before I made any attempt to play a masculine rôle at all prominently in public was, of course, to get some properly fitting clothing. Exactly how to accomplish this without being discovered, or at least suspected, was the great problem now before me. Everything depended, I well knew, upon starting right; and the slightest suspicion at this time, in the mind of any one who happened to see or speak to me, might, and probably would, interfere materially with the success of my operations in the future. I had, however, some time before taken notice of a small tailor's shop on a retired street not very far from the hotel, the presiding genius of which was a not very brilliant-looking German, and I thought perhaps I might run the gantlet of his scrutiny without much fear of detection, especially as I proposed to leave Memphis at as early a day as possible after obtaining my male raiment.

I accordingly went to this German tailor, and ordered two uniform suits, for which I agreed to pay him eighty-five dollars each. As he took my measure he eyed me pretty close, and seemed to imagine that something was not quite right. I was dreadfully afraid he would discover me to be a woman, but resolved, if he did, that I would endeavor to silence him with a handsome bribe for a few days, until he got my suits done and I could leave the city, trusting to be able to disguise myself thereafter so effectually that he would not recognize me again, even if he saw me.

"Ah," said the tailor, looking at me rather sharply, "what you want to go to war for? You is too young for the fightin'; isn't you? What your mammy say to that, eh?"

I replied, with as careless an air as I could possibly assume, that I was twenty-two years of age, and was a graduate of West Point, following up this information with other fictitious statements which it somewhat staggered me to utter, and which, if he had been a trifle sharper, he would have had some difficulty in crediting.

He, however, was satisfied, or appeared to be, and promised to have the clothing ready in two days. I was afraid to tell him to pad the coat all around in such a manner as to conceal my feminine shape; this I was compelled to do myself after I got possession of the clothing. With a little alteration, however, the coats and pantaloons made by the German tailor at Memphis answered my immediate purpose, and enabled me to get under way with my grand scheme, but my disguise was really not perfected until I reached New Orleans, and was able to command facilities greater than Memphis afforded.

My Disguise.

As this seems to be a very proper point in my narrative for a description of the means adopted for the concealment of my sex, while I was doing duty in the Confederate army as an officer, I will gratify the curiosity of the reader in that matter before proceeding any farther with the story of my adventures.

My coats were heavily padded in the back and under the arms to the hips, until I reached New Orleans. This served to disguise my shape; but the padding was very uncomfortable, and I soon made up my mind that it would never do for a permanent arrangement. So soon as I got to New Orleans, I went to an old French army tailor in Barrack Street, who I knew was very skillful, and who understood how to mind his own business by not bothering himself too much about other people's affairs, and had him make for me half a dozen fine wire net shields. These I wore next to my skin, and they proved very satisfactory in concealing my true form, and in giving me something of the shape of a man, while they were by no means uncomfortable. Over the shields I wore all undershirt of silk or lisle thread, which fitted close, and which was held in place by straps across the chest and shoulders, similar to the shoulder-braces sometimes worn by men. A great many officers in the Confederate army have seen the impressions of these straps through my shirt when I have had my coat off, and have supposed them to be shoulder-braces. These undershirts could be rolled up into the small compass of a collar-box. Around the waist of each of the undershirts was a band, with eyelet-holes arranged for the purpose of making the waistbands of my pantaloons stand out to the proper number of inches. A woman's waist, as a general thing, is tapering, and her hips very large in comparison with those of a man, so that if I had undertaken to wear pantaloons without some such contrivance, they would have drawn in at the waist and revealed my true form. With such underwear as I used, any woman who can disguise her features can readily pass for a man, and deceive the closest observers. So many men have weak and feminine voices that, provided the clothing is properly constructed and put on right, and the disguise in other respects is well arranged, a woman with even a very high-pitched voice need have very little to fear on that score. One of the princpal causes of my detection, after having successfully passed myself off as a man to thousands of keen-eyed observers, under circumstances where everything was against the concealment of my sex, was, that my apparatus got out of order, so that I was forced to dispense with it. I was to blame, too, for permitting myself to grow careless, and not always being on my guard.

There were several points about my disguise which were strictly my own invention, and which, for certain good and sufficient reasons, I do not care to give to the public. These added greatly to its efficiency. Indeed, after I had once become accustomed to male attire, and to appearing before anybody and everybody in it, I lost all fear of being found out, and learned to act, talk, and almost to think as a man. Many a time, when in camp, I have gone to sleep when from fifty to sixty officers have been lying close together wrapped in their blankets, and have had no more fear of detection than I had of drinking a glass of water.

Camp Life.

The style of conversation that was common in camp, and the kind of stories told around our fires at night, I will leave to the reader's imagination, hoping, however, that he or she has not imagination enough to compass anything so utterly vile. My favorite amusement was a game of cards, and I preferred this way of entertaining myself, and of beguiling the weary hours, to listening to anecdotes which could only debase my mind. Anything relating to military affairs, to social science, to the deeds of great men or women, or whatever else I could improve myself by listening to, I took great delight in. From my earliest recollection, however, I have had a thorough distaste for vulgarity of language and profanity, and my camp experiences only tended to increase my disgust at the blackguardism which many men are so fond of indulging in. The manner in which too many men are in the habit of referring to the other sex in conversation among themselves is, in my opinion, thoroughly despicable; and I really think that it would be morally and intellectually beneficial to many of my sex, especially those who are the victims of masculine viciousness, if they could only listen to some such conversations as I have been compelled to listen to, and learn how little respect or real regard of any kind men have for them.

I would that God would put it into my power to utter such a warning as would be heeded, to the weak and erring of my sex, and which would enable them to fortify themselves against the temptations constantly assailing them. But I suppose no warning would prevent those who are disposed to sin from doing so, although I well know that women, and men too, can resist temptation, and can avoid vileness in living and in language if they will only choose to do so. I do not pretend to say that I am possessed of firmer nerves, or am less under the influence of the natural emotions of my sex, than many others; but my strong constitution, and the perfect health I enjoyed, enabled me to endure more fatigue and hardship than most women, while my firm-mindedness, and resolute determination to carry my point, enabled me to avoid anything like laxity of conduct. I was compelled to sink my sex entirely, for the least inadvertence would have thwarted my plans, and prevented the realization of all I aimed at.

Many and many a time has the subject of women serving in the army as soldiers been discussed at the mess-tables and around the camp-fires; and officers, who have been in my company for days, and weeks, and months, have boasted, with very masculine positiveness, that no woman could deceive them, little suspecting that one was even then listening to them. I have sometimes been asked my opinion on the subject; but have generally answered evasively, without expressing, in very decided terms, my ideas one way or the other. Some of the men with whom I have been associated have spoken in respectful and even commendatory terms concerning women serving as soldiers; but too many have had nothing but vileness to utter on the subject. I can never forget, although I may forgive, the disgraceful language which some of these individuals have used with regard to this matter; and my experiences in the army will not have been in vain, even if they have taught me nothing more than the utter contemptibleness of some individuals, whom it would be a stretch of courtesy to call gentlemen.


Preparing a military Outfit. — Consultations with a Friend. — Argument against any proposed Plan of Action. — Assuming the Uniform of a Confederate Officer. — A Scene in a Barber's Shop. — How young Men try to make their Beards grow. — Taking a social Drink. — A Game of Billiards. — In a Faro Bank. — Some War Talk. — Drinks all around. — The End of an exciting Day. — Making up a Complexion. — A false Mustache. — Final Preparations. — Letters from Husband and Father. — Ready to start for the Seat of War.

WITHIN three days I managed to provide myself with a very complete military outfit; quite sufficient to enable me to commence operations without delay, which was the main thing I was after, for I was exceedingly anxious to carry out a magnificent idea I had in my mind, and to present myself before my husband, under such auspices that he could no longer find an excuse for refusing his consent to my joining the Southern army as a soldier. My uniform suit having been arranged for, it was an easy matter for me to procure the rest of my outfit without unduly attracting attention, and I soon had in my room a trunk well packed with the wearing apparel of an army officer, and neatly marked upon the outside with the name I had concluded to adopt.

Lieutenant H. T. Buford, C. S. A.

When I saw the trunk with this name upon it as large as life, my heart fairly jumped for joy, and I felt as if the dream of my life were already more than half realized. There was a good deal, however, to be done before I could move any farther in this momentous affair, and while waiting for the tailor to send my uniform suit, I thought and planned until my head fairly ached. At length I hit upon a method of arranging my financial matters which I judged would prove satisfactory, and concluded to call in a gentleman who was a very old and intimate friend of both my husband and myself, and demand his assistance.

Harry T. Buford
1st Lt Indpt Scouts C.S.A.

A Friend In Need.

This friend, in whom I knew full reliance could be placed, came to my room immediately upon my summons, and having first sworn him to secrecy, I made a full revelation with regard to what I proposed to do. He turned deadly pale when I informed him of my intention to disguise myself as a man, and to enter the army on exactly the same footing as other combatants; but, having recovered from his first astonishment and dismay, he tried to treat the whole matter as a jest, and evidently believed that I was either a little demented, or was indulging in an absurd bit of pleasantry. He was convinced, however, that I really meant business, when he saw the trunk with my military pseudonyme upon it, the male garments which the tailor had just sent home, and the accoutrements I had purchased within the past two or three days.

As I had anticipated, he thought it his duty to endeavor to persuade me to abandon my wild ideas, as he called them. He went over all the arguments my husband had used, adding a great many of his own, and painted military associations in the blackest and most repulsive colors. He might as well have talked to the wind, for my heart was fixed on achieving fame, and of accomplishing even more than the great heroines of history had been able to do. I turned a deaf ear to all his remonstrances, and the only answer I gave to his pleadings that I would abandon the thought of unsexing myself, was to insist upon his aid. This he finally promised to give, although most reluctantly, when he found that nothing he could say would move me from my purpose.

My friend suggested that the first thing to be done was, for me to leave the hotel; so, sending for a man, he had my trunk and military equipments carried to the house in which he occupied apartments. My other baggage was prepared for removal, and was taken away to be stored in a place of safety until I should need it again, which I hoped would not be very soon. After paying my bill, and giving the proprietor to understand that I was about to leave the city, my friend managed to get me into my new quarters without my being observed by anyone. Telling me that he would take care to prevent any interruption while I was making my toilet, he retired and left me to myself.

I immediately proceeded to change my garments, and ere a great many minutes had elapsed, I was transformed into a man, so far as it was possible for clothing to transform me. When I was ready I called my friend, and asked his opinion of the figure I cut. He admitted that I was not a bad looking specimen of a man, considering I had only been about five minutes, and thought that in time I should be able to do credit to the name I bore and the clothes I wore.

The only regret I had in making up my disguise, was the necessity for parting with my long and luxuriant hair. This gave me a real pang; but there was no help for it, and I submitted with as good a grace as I could muster, while my friend played the part of tonsorial artist with a pair of shears. He trimmed my hair tolerably close, and said that it would answer until I could visit a barber's shop with him, and be initiated into some of the mysteries of such a peculiarly masculine place of resort. Before going to the barber's, however, he made me promenade the room, practising a masculine gait, until I had acquired it tolerably well, and gave me a great number of very minute instructions about the proper manner of conducting myself so that my sex would not be suspected. He particularly enjoined me to watch his actions closely at the barber's, in the drinking saloons, the billiard rooms, and the other places he intended conducting me to, for the purpose of informing me with regard to some masculine habits and ways of acting, talking, and thinking.

At The Barber's

A carriage having been sent for, we were driven to the shop or an old Virginian negro barber, whom my friend was accustomed to patronize. Entering first, he took off his hat and coat, and hung them up, and throwing himself into one of the barber's chairs, asked to have his hair trimmed and his face shaved. I followed his movements as closely as I was able, and was soon in my shirt sleeves and in possession of another chair, with an obsequious colored individual standing over me, vigorously mixing lather in a cup, which he evidently intended to apply to my face, notwithstanding that I had not the least sign of a beard. I was very much amused, but also a trifle frightened at this manoeuvre, for I really did not want to have my face scraped with a razor, and yet scarcely knew whether it would be the correct thing to decline going through the performance. My friend saw the dilemma I was in, and came to the rescue, by informing the barber that his young friend only wanted to have his hair trimmed in the latest style. The negro took the hint, but grinned a little as he put away the shaving apparatus, at which I was almost inclined to believe that he had suspicions with regard to me.

I was somewhat reassured, however, and at the same time gained a bit of information with regard to certain masculine traits, when, as he commenced to trim my hair, he said, "De young gemmen in de military always likes to be shaved, sah, even if dey hasn't any beard. Dey tinks dat it helps to make de beard grow, sah;" and then he laughed heartily, as if he thought he was getting off a first-rate joke at the expense of a large and important class of his customers. For my own part I appreciated the joke immensely, in spite of the embarrassment under which I labored, and assured my colored friend that I had no disposition to force my beard, but thought that it would come of itself in course of time without assistance. The barber took this view of the case himself, and intimated confidentially that in his opinion a good many young fellows in their haste to get beards before nature intended that they should have any, not only give themselves considerable unnecessary pain by hacking their chins with awkwardly handled razors, but interfered materially with the proper and graceful growth of the hirsute adornment when it did begin to make its appearance.

I was entertained, and not a little edified, by the talk with which the barber regaled me while he was cutting my hair; and, as it was evident from his manner that he took me for a young man, I was greatly reassured with regard to the success of my disguise, and left the shop with an increased confidence in my ability to play the part I had assumed. I was the more encouraged as my friend, when we were once more in the street, told me that I had conducted myself first rate, although he warned me that he was about to take me to a number of places with which I would not be so well pleased as I had been with the barber's shop, and in which I would be compelled to be constantly on my guard. He advised me to watch closely what he did, to treat to drinks or cigars after him, but not to take part in any games.

Strolling down the street, we soon came to the hotel, and entered the bar-room, where my companion met a number of friends, to whom he introduced me as a young officer on his way to the seat of war. I was received with much cordiality, and the whole party speedily engaged in an animated conversation about the coming conflict. I said as little as possible, but tried to take part in the discussion, when I was compelled to speak, in as easy and natural a manner as I could without unduly obtruding myself. Of course, as soon as the first introductions were over, somebody suggested drinks. The men all took whiskey straight; but I did not venture on anything stronger than cider. Soon my companion managed to give me a quiet hint, and I treated the party to drinks and cigars. We then adjourned to the billiard-room, and my friend, taking off his coat, went at a game in good earnest with another member of the party. I had never seen the game of billiards played before, and I soon became intensely interested in watching, from a chair in which I sat in my shirt sleeves, pretending to smoke my cigar, the balls rolling over the table. As the weather was warm, I very soon, after entering the billiard-room, availed myself of what seemed to be the custom of the place, to take off my heavily padded coat, which began to be unbearable, and found myself much more at my ease sitting in my shirt sleeves.

A Visit To A Faro Bank.

The players kept pushing the balls about, until nearly one o'clock in the morning, I sitting all the time watching them intently, and endeavoring to obtain some idea of the game. When one o'clock struck, my friend proposed that we should go to a faro bank; and although I was both sleepy and tired, for it was long after my usual hour for retiring, and I was pretty well used up with the excitement of the day, I felt bound to do whatever my instructor in masculine manners desired me. I knew what the game of faro was, for my father's country people are all extravagantly fond of sports of every kind, while in the army, especially upon lonely frontier stations, a game of cards is frequently the only diversion that officers have. Both before and after my marriage, therefore, I had been accustomed to card-playing, and was familiar with all the principal games. although there were some, like faro, used only for gambling purposes, which I had never seen played in a regular manner.

Before entering the faro bank, my companion cautioned me not, under any circumstances, at the present or any future time, to take part in games like faro, or to drink any strong liquor. Card-playing for money, he said, I could avoid with tolerable ease, but I would frequently be so situated that I would be compelled to drink, and that I had better at once establish a reputation for temperance, and only take something that could not possibly intoxicate. If it was once understood that I never touched whiskey, brandy, or even wine, I could manage to get along very well, even with hard drinkers, and would very seldom be troubled by being forced to imbibe when I did not wish to do so, while all sensible people would respect me. My friend liked very well to take something stronger than water himself, but he felt that what would do for him would not do for me, and that even a very slight indiscretion with regard to such a matter as this might get me into serious trouble and thwart all my plans. His present object was simply to show me some points of masculine life, which it was important I should be acquainted with in order that I might play my part with entire success; for, having failed to dissuade me from my grand scheme, he was exceedingly solicitous that I should acquit myself with credit, and get through without tarnishing my fair fame.

The faro bank was crowded with men, some deeply interested in the play, others looking on, and others standing about talking and drinking. The majority of the men in the room were civilians; but not a few officers, in their brilliant uniforms, were present, and the war seemed to be the one topic of conversation. My friend immediately recognized a number of acquaintances, to whom he introduced me. Among others was a major, who, I thought, eyed me pretty close, but who did not address me particularly, except to exchange the ordinary civilities. This officer, after we had been conversing a few moments, proposed that we should take a drink, and the whole party went up to the bar. All but myself called for brandy; I took cider. Whereupon the major said, with a smile, "Lieutenant, you don't appear to be a heavy drinker?"

"No," replied my friend for me, "he is quite temperate; and it's just as good for him. If he don't begin to drink strong stuff, he'll never want to."

"That's so," said the major; "hard drinking is a bad habit, and I wish sometimes I hadn't acquired it; but when a fellow's in camp, and cut off from civilization, he is apt to take more than is good for him; and when he once gets a start in that way, it is hard to stop." Then turning to me, he said, "What part of the country do you come from?"

"He has just returned from the North," put in my friend.

"Ah, indeed!" said the major. "To what command are you attached, sir?"

"To none, as yet," I replied.

Said my friend, "He is a West-Pointer, and has made up his mind to do some fighting for the South."

"The devil he is!" remarked the major, shaking me heartily by the hand; "I am glad to find him on the right side. This is the kind of fellow we want, and, with a few more of the same sort, we will whip the Yankees inside of ninety days."

Some War Talk.

In a few moments a dozen or more men were gathered around, eagerly shaking my hand and plying me with all kinds of questions. They made such a decided demonstration, that I began to be a little frightened, but stood my ground valiantly, and replied to their queries the best I was able.

Said one, "What do the Yankees think of us people down South?"

"Why," replied I, "most persons say that there will be no fighting, and I do not think they want to fight if they can help it."

"We'll show them about the fighting," said another.

"Yes, lieutenant," said a third, "one Southerner can whip any ten they send down here, and will do it in thirty days at the farthest."

The major now asked, "What do you think about foreign intervention?"

This was something I had never given even a thought to; but I answered very boldly, and in a style that I thought would be appreciated by my auditors, "We don't want any foreign help in a war like this. I reckon we can manage to do our own fighting."

"That's the kind of talk," cried the major.

There was considerable more conversation of this kind, during which the drinking went on pretty freely, I treating the same as the rest, but being careful not to take anything that would upset me. I informed them that it was my intention to recruit and equip a company at my own expense in Rackensack, on the Mississippi, among the country people, and that I had eighty-eight thousand dollars with which to see myself through. This made a great impression, and the major remarked, "You are going to just the right place. The boys down there are first-rate marksmen, and you won't have any trouble in getting as many of them as you want."

The major by this time was pretty full, and he proposed to show me the sights, if I would make a night of it with him. I thanked him, but said that as it was very late, and I was tired from travelling, I would like to retire. My friend seconded my efforts to get away; which we did finally, after some further argument with my new acquaintances, the major especially showing a disposition to insist upon my going with him to see what he called the sights. Finally we reached the house, where my friend put me into his room, while he went and took possession of another apartment occupied by a friend. It was after four o'clock when I went to sleep, pretty well used up with the excitement and unusual exertion which my masculine début had caused me.

The next day I completed my outfit by purchasing a pair of field-glasses, a pair of blankets, a rubber overcoat, and a rubber blanket. On returning to my room I made out a form of attorney in my friend's name, and authorized him to attend to all my business matters for me. I also prepared a lot of recruiting papers on the model of some genuine ones I succeeded in getting hold of, and some muster rolls, and procured a manual of tactics, and before the day was over, was pretty nearly ready to commence active operations.

My friend, thinking that my disguise could be somewhat improved, and a more manly air given to my countenance, obtained a false mustache, and a solution with which to stain my face, in order to make it look tanned. I rubbed on the solution until my skin was about the right tint, and then my friend carefully fastened the mustache on my upper lip with glue. This was a very great improvement, and I scarcely knew myself when I looked in the glass, and laughed at the thought of what my husband would say when he saw me in this disguise.

During the day I received two letters; one from my father, informing me that he was about to return to Cuba, which relieved my anxiety lest he should come after me, and the other dated Vicksburg, from my husband. In my reply to the latter, I stated that I was going to Texas, for the purpose of accompanying my father to Cuba. This I thought would prevent my husband from being apprehensive with regard to me, and enable me to get matters under good headway before he could interfere, for I was extremely anxious to give him a first-rate surprise.

Everything was now in proper trim for me to commence operations in earnest; so, packing my trunk, rolling up my blankets in army style, as I had often seen soldiers do, preparing my papers, and getting ready a change of underwear, and other matters for immediate use in a small satchel, I was ready to start on my campaign with as stout a heart as ever beat in the breast of a soldier.


My Plan of Action. — On the War Path. — In Search of Recruits in Arkansas. — The Giles Homestead. — Sensation caused by a Soldier's Uniform. — A prospective Recruit. — Bashful Maidens. — A nice little Flirtation. — Learning how to be agreeable to the Ladies. — A Lesson in masculine Manners. — A terrible Situation. — Causeless Alarm. — The young Lady becoming sociable. — A few matrimonal Hints. — The successful Commencement of a Soldier's Career. — Anticipations of future Glory. — Dreamless Slumbers.

THE plan of action I had fixed upon, after mature reflection, was to raise and equip a battalion at my own expense, taking care to select good material for it, and then to appear at the head of my little army before my husband, and to offer him the command. I pictured to myself again and again the look of astonishment he would put on when he recognized his wife as the leader of a gallant band who were pledged to fight to the death for the cause of Southern independence, and flattered myself with the idea that, so far from being inclined to censure me for my obstinate persistence in carrying out my idea of becoming a soldier, he would be disposed to praise without reservation, and so far from being ashamed of my action, would be proud of it. Whatever view of the matter he might take, however, he would be compelled to yield to my wishes, whether he desired to do so or not, and I would consequently be free to follow the bent of my inclinations without fear of further opposition on his part. My desire was to serve with him, if possible; but if this could not be done, I intended to play my part in the war in my own way, without his assistance. I, however, did not contemplate any further difficulty in obtaining his consent, and even his assistance, in the execution of my plans, and so started out on the war-path with a light heart, and with brilliant anticipations for the future.

With my satchel, containing a change of under-clothing and a few other traps, in my hand, I crossed over to Hopefield, on the Arkansas side of the river, and took the five o'clock train, not knowing exactly where I proposed to bring up. For a time I busied myself with the study of my Manual of Tactics, with the intention of becoming sufficiently posted on certain points to get my recruits into something like military training immediately. Having been the wife of an army officer for a number of years, and having seen some hard service on the frontier, I was, in a measure, pretty well qualified for the work I had now undertaken, especially as I had paid a good deal of attention to the details of military organizations, and had seen soldiers drilled hundreds of times. I had not been in the train very long, before, finding the conductor at leisure, I entered into conversation with him, with a view of obtaining information that might be useful in the furtherance of my designs.

Explaining to this individual, who appeared to take the liveliest interest in my affairs, that I was on a recruiting expedition, I asked him if he could not suggest a good neighborhood for me to commence operations in. He said that Hurlburt Station was as likely a place as I could find to pick up a company of strong, hearty fellows, who would do some good fighting, and advised me to try my luck there. Hurlburt, he told me, was not much of a place, — a saw-mill, a country store, in which the post office was located, a school-house, which was also used as a church, being pretty much all there was of it. The country around, however, was tolerably well settled, and most of the young men thereabouts would, he thought, be rather glad of a chance to have a crack at the Yankees.

Hurlburt Station.

The train speeded through the swamps, and it was not a great while before we reached Hurlburt Station, where, in accordance with the conductor's suggestion, I alighted. With my satchel in my hand, I made for the nearest house, and inquired of a negro, who was chopping wood, whether his master was at home. The darkey stared at me a bit, evidently attracted by something in my appearance, and then, grinning until he showed all his ivories, said that the old boss was away, but that the young boss was about somewhere. I accordingly told him to call the young boss; and soon up came a well-built, good-looking young fellow, whom I fixed upon immediately as a suitable recruit. In response to my inquiry whether I could stop there a few days, he said, with a laugh, "I guess so, if you can stand our fare. We haven't any accommodation for travellers, but pap never turns anybody away."

I replied, "I guess I can stand your fare, if you treat me well in other respects."

"We'll do the best we can for you," he said. "Come in, and I'll call mammy and the gals."

The house to which he conducted me was a rude affair, constructed with logs daubed over with mud, and with only one door, which appeared to have no other fastening than a wooden latch. I quickly made up my mind that a smart young fellow like Frank Giles — for such, he took occasion to inform me, was his name — would not hesitate very long about making up his mind to abandon these rather dismal surroundings, for the sake of embracing such an opportunity for seeing something of the world, and of participating in exciting adventures, as I proposed to offer him.

As we entered the house, Frank bawled out at the top of his voice, "Mammy, here's a man who wants to stop here."

The old woman put in an appearance in a moment or two, and greeted me with a certain amount of cordiality, saying, in reply to my request for board and lodging for four or five days, "Well, sir, we're poor folks, and ain't got much to give you; but we'll do the best we can, if you choose to stop with us."

I replied that I reckoned things would suit well enough, as I wasn't hard to please, and, in compliance with an invitation to make myself at home, took off my cap, and began to remove my duster.

The old woman and the young fellow both stared at me with open-mouthed astonishment when they saw my uniform, which, up to this time, had been concealed by my long linen duster. When they could recover themselves, they began to deluge me with questions. The old woman seemed rather suspicious of me at first, and evidently surmised that I had some intention of carrying off Frank, and making a soldier of him. As for Frank, the sight of my brass buttons fired him with military ardor immediately, and I perceived that there would be no difficulty whatever in securing his enlistment.

"I guess you're an officer; ain't you?" said Frank, following up this question with another one before I could open my mouth for a reply. "What are you going to do down here?"

"Yes, I am an officer, on a recruiting trip," I answered. "What chance do you think I will have in getting some good fighting fellows in this neighborhood?"

"What army do you belong to?" demanded Frank, apparently a little dubious about the colors I fought under.

"To the army of Virginia," I replied.

"Then I reckon you are for the South?" said he.

"Certainly, sir," said I; "and you swear by the same colors that I do; don't you?"

"Of course I do." And then he commenced a perfect siege of questions about what a soldier would have to do, how long was the war going to last, would there be much fighting, and expressed the liveliest desire to take a hand at licking the Yankees.

I told him that I had the army regulations with me, and would take pleasure in explaining them to him in the morning. I then asked him to give me some water, so that I could clean myself up a bit before supper, as I was pretty well covered with dust and cinders after my ride. He accordingly got me a basin of water, and then left me to go off and hunt the old man, full of eagerness to tell him of the arrival of the recruiting officer, and of his own desire to go soldiering.

A Sensation Among The Women.

The sudden intrusion of a gallant young officer, in a gay uniform, plentifully decorated with buttons and lace, into the Giles homestead, made an even greater impression on the female than upon the male part of the family. My arrival had clearly created an intense excitement, and I understood very well that I was the subject of the whispered conversation that I heard going on outside. From the manner in which the old woman and her son had addressed me, I knew [torn page] they had no suspicions of my being other than what I s [torn page] but I judged that it would be necessary to be pretty [torn page] how I carried myself before the former, for she was clearly a sharp one, and would be quick to take note of any peculiarly feminine traits of manner I might display. I therefore determined to play the man right manfully, whether I thought myself observed or not; and this I found to be a very good rule to go by throughout the entire period during which I wore my disguise.

While making my toilet, I noticed the old woman and a couple of girls peeping at me through a crack in the wall, and I accordingly, without appearing to notice them, took pains to strut about in as mannish a manner as I could, and to imitate a man's actions and gestures while washing my face and hands and arranging my hair.

After a bit, Mrs. Giles and her daughters came into the room, the girls blushing up to their eyes, and dreadfully abashed, at being compelled to go through with the ceremony of an introduction to the handsome and gayly dressed young officer. The eldest of the two daughters was about sixteen, and was attired in a bright, flaring yellow calico; the youngest was about twelve years of age, and was somewhat less unbecomingly dressed in pink. Both of the girls had put on the best they had to do honor to the occasion, and the eldest, especially, so soon as her first bashfulness wore off, seemed very much disposed to attract the particular attention of the visitor by various little feminine artifices, which I understood very well, and which amused me immensely.

On entering the room, the old woman said, awkwardly waving her hands towards her daughters, "These is my gals, sir."

I bowed in the politest manner, and said, with what I intended to be a particularly fascinating smile, "Good evening, ladies," laying a particular emphasis on the word "ladies;" which had the desired effect, for both of the girls blushed deeper than ever, and the eldest simpered as if she heartily enjoyed it. The daughters, however, were too much confused just yet to do a great deal in the way of conversation; so, for the sake of sociability, and to put the entire party at their ease, I started a talk with the old woman, by remarking that it had been an exceedingly pleasant day.

"Yes," replied Mrs. Giles; "but the craps need rain."

After a few commonplaces of this kind about the weather, [torn page] other matters of no particular moment, I thought I might [torn page] proceed to business at once; for I expected that I would have some opposition from the old woman in my effort to enlist Frank. So I said, "Madam, I am trying to enlist your son for a soldier in my company; don't you think you can spare him?"

She burst out crying, and exclaimed, "O, sir, I can't let my boy go for a soldier and get killed."

The youngest girl, seeing her mother in tears, began to blubber a little also; but the eldest not only did not cry, but she looked at me in such a peculiar way, that I was convinced she wished I would take her instead of Frank.

An Arkansas Belle.

The idea of having a mild little flirtation with this fair flower of the Arkansas forest rather grew upon me as I noticed the impression I was making upon her susceptible imagination. I had some curiosity to know how love-making went from the masculine standpoint, and thought that the present would be a good opportunity to gain some valuable experience in that line; for it occurred to me that if I was to figure successfully in the rôle of a dashing young Confederate officer, it would be necessary for me to learn how to make myself immensly agreeable to the ladies. I knew how to make myself agreeable to the men, or thought I did, and I could, if I chose, be agreeable to women in a feminine sort of fashion; but I had never studied the masculine carriage towards my sex critically, with a view of imitating it, and it was important, therefore, that I should begin at once to do so, in order that when compelled to associate with women, as I assuredly would be to a greater or less extent, I might not belie my outward appearances by my conduct. I flatter myself that during the time I passed for a man I was tolerably successful with the women; and I had not a few curious and most amusing adventures, which gave me an insight into some of the peculiarities of feminine human nature which had not impressed themselves on my mind before, perhaps because I was a woman.

My flirtation with Miss Sadie Giles was not a very savage one, and I hope that it did not inflict more damage on her heart than it did on mine. It was immensely amusing to me while it lasted, and I presume, if not exactly amusing, it might at least be deemed entertaining to her. At any rate, I succeeded not only in having a little sly fun at her expense, but I picked up an idea or two that I subsequently found useful.

Noticing that Miss Sadie was developing a marked partiality for me, but was much too bashful to give me any encouragement, except some shy glances out of the corners of her eyes, I commenced to ogle her, and, whenever I had an opportunity, to pay her some delicate attentions, for the purpose of making her think I was just a bit fascinated with her. It soon became very evident that the heart which beat under that yellow calico dress was in a great state of excitement, and Miss Sadie, while not encouraging me by any direct advances, made it very plainly understood that my little attentions were appreciated.

While I was conversing with the old woman on the subject of Frank's enlistment, and trying to convince her that it was better for him to volunteer than to wait to be drafted, — following Miss Sadie with my eyes all the while, and letting her see plainly that I was thinking more of her than of her mother, — I heard the youngest daughter, Fan, who had meanwhile left the room, saying to her father that there was a soldier in the house who had come to take Frank away to the war. The old man made his appearance a moment later, and, shaking me very cordially by the hand, gave me a hearty welcome, and apologized for the meagreness of the accommodations he was able to offer. I judged from his manner and from his language that he had seen better days, and that his education was much superior to that of his wife and children.

Supper was now announced, and we all sat down to a tolerably plentiful repast, the principal features of which were bacon, cabbage, and fried chickens — the latter having been prepared in my honor. Miss Sadie managed to place herself by my side, by a dexterous little manoeuvre, which escaped the attention of the family, but which I understood perfectly. I, for my part, strove to play the gallant by helping her bountifully to the bacon, cabbage, and chicken, and by endeavoring to induce her to join in the conversation. She undoubtedly appreciated my attentions at their full value, but was not sufficiently self-possessed to do much talking; indeed, during the supper I could scarcely get anything out of her except a timid yes or no.

The old man, on the contrary, was very talkative, and plied me with all kinds of questions about myself, my errand, the war, and the prospect of a speedy accomplishment of Southern independence. I told him that my name was Buford, that I was a lieutenant in the army, and that I had been sent down to Arkansas for the purpose of recruiting a company for service in Virginia. He said that I would have no difficulty in getting all the recruits I wanted, as the young fellows in those parts were every one eager to have a dash at the Yankees, and promised to aid me in every way possible.

The apartment in which the supper was served was about ten by twelve feet, and was used as a kitchen as well as dining and sleeping-room. Everything about it was dreadfully dirty, and the table at which we were eating, and the bench upon which Miss Sadie and myself were seated, were both so greasy that I was much afraid of seriously soiling my new clothes; and I do not doubt that my agitation on this subject was attributed by the yellow-calico clad damsel beside me to the close proximity in which I was placed to her. I ate heartily of the viands that were set before me, paying more attention, however, to the chicken than to the greasy bacon and cabbage, which latter, however, were eaten with great gusto by my entertainers.

My Mustache In Danger.

Before the supper was over I had a terrible fright, and for a few moments fancied that I was on the brink of a discovery that would upset all my plans, and nip my enterprise in the bud. While drinking a glass of buttermilk, which I greatly enjoyed, for it was the best thing on the table, and was most refreshing, my mustache got full of the fluid, and when I attempted to wipe this ornament, which my Memphis friend had so carefully glued upon my upper lip, and which added so much to the manliness of my countenance, I fancied that it was loose and was about to fall off. Here was a terrible situation, and I cannot undertake to describe what I felt. To say that I was frightened, scarcely gives an idea of the cold chills that ran down my back. The ridicule of my entertainers, and especially of Miss Sadie, was the least thing that I feared, and I would rather brave any number of perils at the cannon's mouth than to repeat the emotions of that dreadful moment. Such a situation as this is ludicrous enough, but it was not a bit funny for me at that time; and I was on pins and needles until I could get away, and take means to secure the mustache firmly on again. I managed, however, to keep a straight countenance, and to join in the conversation with a tolerable degree of equanimity, keeping my hand up to my mouth all the time though, and doing my best to hold the mustache on. My fright, after all, was causeless, for on examination I found that the hair was too firmly glued to my lip to be easily removed; indeed, I subsequently discovered that it was practically impossible to move it without the aid of alcohol.

After supper, the old man and Frank went off to finish up their work before going to bed, and the women folks busied themselves in clearing the dishes. I had thus a little time to myself, and took advantage of it, first of all, to ascertain about the security of my mustache. To my intense relief I found it as fast as if it actually grew on my lip; and so, with a light heart, I returned to the house, and joined the old woman and the girls.

During the supper, the elder Giles nearly monopolized the conversation, and scarcely gave his wife and children a chance to put a word in edgewise. I saw very plainly that the old woman was worried at the prospect of losing Frank, and consequently prepared to sustain a heavy siege of queries and expostulations from her. Leaving the girls to finish putting away the supper things, she seated herself in the corner, and began pulling vigorously at a pipe filled with some very strong-smelling tobacco, which was far from grateful to my nostrils.

After a variety of inquiries about the war, the duties of a soldier, the chances of being killed, the amount of pay a soldier received, and like matters, she asked whether I had any parents.

I replied that my father was living.

"Ain't he opposed to your going to the war?" said she.

"O, no," I answered; "he knows that it is what a military man must expect; and he not only wants me to go, but he will be disappointed if I do not see some hard fighting, and have a chance to distinguish myself."

"Are you married?" was the next query.

"No, madam," I replied, giving a sharp look at Sadie, who made a pause in her rattling of the dishes to hear what I would say; "I am one of the unfortunate single men."

"You are much better off, young man," struck in the old man Giles, who just then came in; and throwing himself on the bench, began to smoke a very strong pipe rather furiously.

Hearing the girls giggle at this, I glanced over my shoulder, and seeing that Miss Sadie had finished her work, and was apparently anxious to be better acquainted with me, I politely arose and offered her my raw-hide chair. This she blushingly declined, but took a wooden stool, upon which she seated herself quite close to me. I could think of nothing so likely to loosen her tongue, and make her properly sociable, as a reference to religious matters; so I asked her if there were any churches in the neighborhood.

She said that there was no regular church, but that on Sundays a preacher held forth in the school-house; and then, without much difficulty, we got into quite a discussion about religion, and from that to other matters of more immediate interest, if not of so much permanent importance. The old man, I presume, was rather tired, and so, taking advantage of this change of subject in our conversation, he went to bed, and soon was snoring lustily. Finally, Miss Sadie got back to what was the subject uppermost in her thoughts, and began questioning me about my own affairs, by asking if I had any brothers.

"Yes," I replied; "one, older than myself, who is more fortunate, for he is married," — giving a look at her out of the corner of my eye, which I intended her to understand as an intimation that, although not married, I had no objections to being so if I could find a girl to suit me.

"You ought to be married, too," said Miss Sadie, with a simper, and apparently appreciating this kind of conversation much better than the war talk the old man and I had been indulging in.

"How can I get married when none of the girls will have me?" I retorted.

"You git out," was the rather irrelevant remark Miss Sadie made at this point, but giving me no reason to believe that she meant her words to be construed literally.

The old woman thinking, I suppose, to flatter me, said, "A handsome young fellow like you, with, I dare say, a pretty fair education, needn't be afraid of the gals not having you."

At this point of the conversation the old man awoke, and sang out, "Don't you women talk that man to death. Why don't you git out and let him go to bed?" and then, pointing to a bed in the corner, he told me to turn in there when I felt like it.

The End Of A Day's Adventure.

This was a broad enough hint that Mr. Giles did not want to hear any more conversation that night; so I excused myself to the old woman and the girls, and stepped out on the porch to think a little by myself as to what I had best do next. Here I was at the end of my first day's experience in playing the part of a soldier, with every reason to believe that I had thus far played it most successfully, and that I had really made quite a brilliant start. The prospects were all in favor of the easy accomplishment of my immediate designs, and I saw myself, in imagination, already at the head of a company of stalwart young recruits, appearing in the presence of my astonished husband, and asking him to lead us to battle. That I could successfully pass myself off for a man with both sexes was an assured fact, for the elder Giles and Frank undoubtedly took me for just what I professed to be, and the latter was both willing and anxious to enter himself upon my muster-roll, while the susceptible heart of Miss Sadie was apparently touched in a way that it could never have been had the faintest suspicion of my not being a man crossed her mind. The old woman, too, who, in a matter of this kind, would be quite certain to be a more critical observer than the rest of the family, had no hesitation in believing me to be a gallant young soldier; so that, taking all things into consideration, I had reason to congratulate myself upon a brilliant opening to my campaign.

My hopes were high, and my heart beat quick at the thoughts that crowded upon me of the future that seemed opening out before me, as under the soft stars of that April night I paced up and down before the house maturing my plans for the morrow, and indulging in romantic imaginings of the glory that awaited me, could I but follow up successfully the career so auspiciously begun. The thought of possible failure only crossed my mind to be banished from it, and I resolved to dare everything to make success a certainty and not a mere peradventure. At length, wearied in mind and body by the fatigues and excitements of the day, I sought the couch which the hospitality of the Giles family had provided me.

When I got back to the room the old woman and the girls had disappeared, and the head of the house was snoring in one corner of the room. I had a large sum of money on my person, and a handsome gold watch; quite enough portable property, in fact, to tempt people so dead poor as my entertainers, and I was somewhat dubious at first about the best manner of disposing of my valuables for the night. I finally, however, concluded to merely take off my coat, vest, and boots, and to put my money and watch under me in such a manner that they could not be touched without my being aroused. My revolver was also examined, and found to be in good shooting condition, and was placed beneath the pillow so that I could easily grasp it in any emergency requiring its use. These preparations completed, I threw myself upon the bed, and ere many minutes, overcome with fatigue, I fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.


Flirtation and Recruiting. — My brilliant Success in enlisting a Company. — Embarkation for New Orleans. — Letter from my Husband. — Change of Plans. — Cheered while passing through Mobile. — Arrival at Pensacola. — Astonishment of my Husband. — Sudden Death of my Husband by the Bursting of a Carbine. — Determination to go to the Front. — A fascinating Widow. — A Lesson in Courtship. — Starting for the Seat of War. — Unpleasant Companions. — A bit of Flirtation with a Columbia Belle. — In Charge of a Party of Ladies and Children at Lynchburg. — Arrival in Richmond. — Another Lady in Love with me. — The Major wants to make a Night of it. — A great Game of Cards. — Off for the Battle-field.

THE noise of a coffee-mill, operated in a very energetic manner by one of the daughters of the house, and the yelling of half a dozen ill-conditioned dogs, disturbed my slumbers in the morning, at an hour when I fain would have kept possession of my couch, in spite of its unsavoriness. I knew that it was time to get up, but the fingers of sleep pressed heavily upon my eyelids, and I lay for some time half awake and half lost in slumber, not quite certain as to exactly where I was, wondering if camp-life was as rough as this, amused at myself for thinking of such a thing, when I knew that many a soldier would envy me my surroundings, and then dropping off amid a cloud of fancies into a sound doze again. The rather piercing tones of Miss Sadie, calling to Frank, and a fresh outbreak of yells from the dogs, awoke me again, and this time in good earnest. I jumped out of bed, thinking that this kind of laziness would never do if I intended to be a soldier, and pulling on my boots, I stepped out on the porch.

The dawn was far advanced, but the sun was still below the horizon, and the air was dull and heavy with dampness and with the miasmatic vapors of the neighboring swamps. It required some little exertion for me to shake off the lethargy that clung to my limbs, but after a wash in a wooden bowl filled with water, that Frank brought me, I felt refreshed, and ready to begin with proper energy the work of the day. I was not very long in arranging my toilet, using my own soap and towels, which I fortunately had brought with me, for they were articles with which the Giles homestead did not appear to be over plentifully supplied, and was in the midst of a discussion with Frank as to the best method of proceeding in order to enlist the number of men I desired, when the old woman put her head out of the door and squeaked, "Come to breakfast, Mister."

I was in a few moments seated by the side of Miss Sadie, who was still attired in the brilliant yellow calico dress, which was evidently the most esteemed bit of costume her wardrobe afforded. She blushed furiously as I greeted her, but was so evidently partial to me, that the other members of the family could not but take notice of it, and there was not a little sport at her expense. I overheard Frank say to her, in a loud whisper, "You need not stick yourself up for that fellow; he don't want you."

At this I redoubled my attentions, and Miss Sadie showed very plainly by her manner that she was highly flattered by them, so much so, that when Frank, seeing how things were going, whispered maliciously, "I'll tell Bob how you are going on with that soldier," she only turned up her nose, and gave her head a toss in a manner that indicated as plain as words, that Sadie's Arkansas sweetheart had been completely cut out by the military individual seated beside her. It was not altogether bad fun to indulge in a bit of a flirtation with Miss Sadie, for she enjoyed the flattering attentions I paid her immensely, but as I had matters of more importance upon my hands, it was impossible for me to make myself as agreeable to her as she would have liked me to.


When breakfast was over, I went out to see the girls milk the cows, and then, after chatting a bit with Sadie, I crossed over to the school-house, where I found half a dozen rather rough fellows waiting to see me, all of whom expressed themselves as extremely anxious to enlist. One very hard-looking specimen, who could not even write his name, wanted very badly to be captain; indeed, they all were quite ambitious to be officers, and I had some difficulty in explaining to them, that in the army, in time of war, where actual fighting was being done, it was a very different thing holding the position of an officer, from what it was in the militia. I, however, encouraged them to believe that they all might be lieutenants, captains, and even generals, some day, if they fought bravely, and succeeded in creating such an enthusiasm among them over the prospect of a brush with the Yankees, to be followed by rapid promotion, that the whole party were soon ready to enlist on any terms I chose to suggest.

After talking the matter over with these men for some time, and explaining the situation in the best style I was able, I wrote out solve bills calling for volunteers, one of which I posted on the school-house door, and the rest I gave to Frank, who mounted a horse, and started off to distribute them through the country. During the day I read the army regulations at least a dozen times, and tried to make the men understand what they meant, This was not a very easy matter, but I succeeded in enrolling thirty-six, whom I ordered to report for roll call the next morning. This they did not much fancy; but on my stating that they were under oath, and bound to obey, they yielded without making any trouble about it, but apparently with no great admiration for military discipline.

My quota was easily filled in four days, and I then proceeded to get my battalion organization complete, and to make preparations for departure. Two of the most intelligent of the men I appointed subordinate officers, one sergeant and the other corporal; and gave them instructions about drilling the battalion, and maintaining discipline in my absence. Everything now being in proper trim, I sent a messenger ahead to the friend in Memphis who had so efficiently aided my plans, with instructions for him to engage transportation, and then getting my troops into marching order, off we started.

Having seen my little army under way, I lingered for a moment to bid good-by to the Giles family. The old man did not much fancy losing both his boys, — for his youngest son Ira had enlisted as well as Frank, — but he stood it bravely; the old woman, however, broke down entirely, while both the girls cried, Miss Sadie, I thought, more at the idea of parting with me than at losing her brothers. I, however, begged them to keep their courage up, and to expect the boys home soon, covered with glory, as the heroes of many well-fought fields.

Miss Sadie's hand I squeezed a bit as I said farewell, and I fancy that her lover, Bob, had some difficulty after that in obliterating the impression the young officer had made upon her heart.

On The March.

I determined to march my men to the river, in order to break them in; but before we got to the landing, a good many of them were decidedly of the opinion that soldiering was much harder work than they had calculated upon. None of them showed any disposition to back out, however, and the majority, despite the fatigue of the march, were quite elated at the prospect before them of being able to see something of the world. I do not think any of them appreciated the real importance of what they were doing, and looked upon the whole affair much in the light of an excursion, which would be rather jolly than otherwise. Indeed, to tell the truth, I rather regarded the thing in that light myself, notwithstanding that I had seen enough of military life for me to understand something of its serious character.

At the landing I met my Memphis friend with my baggage and equipments and a tent, and with blankets and camp utensils for the use of the men. He also handed me a letter from my husband. This I eagerly read, and much to my disappointment, learned from it that he had gone to Pensacola. I determined, however, to push on and meet him there, for I was bent on carrying out my original idea of surprising him, and of offering him the command of my battalion. I accordingly embarked my men — two hundred and thirty-six in all — upon the steamer Ohio Belle, and issued to them blankets and other articles necessary for their comfort.

My plan now was to go down to New Orleans, where I should be able to procure such stores and equipments as were immediately needed, and where I could perfect my disguise; for, not only did my padded coat not fit me as it ought, but it was almost unbearably warm, and I was anxious to substitute something more comfortable for the padding at the earliest possible moment. My friend accompanied me as far as Vicksburg, where he bade me adieu, the tears springing to his eyes as he did so, for he could not dispossess himself of the impression that I was engaged in a foolhardy and dangerous enterprise, out of which I could scarcely come with credit to myself and friends. He, however, did not attempt to dissuade me, for the time for argument had long since passed, and he knew perfectly well that I was determined to follow my own inclinations at whatever hazard.

On arriving at New Orleans, I landed my men a short distance above the city, and then, with as little delay as possible, purchased my quartermaster and commissary stores, and perfected my private outfit in the manner stated in a previous chapter. Among my other purchases was a fine horse, which I obtained from Dr. Elliott, on Union Street. No finer body of men ever went out of New Orleans than the Arkansas Grays, as my battalion was called. As we passed through Mobile we were heartily cheered, the men waving their hats, and the women their handkerchiefs, and everybody commenting in the most laudatory terms upon our martial appearance. I cannot pretend to tell how proud I was, when I noted how much attention we were attracting; and if the shadow of a doubt as to the propriety of the course I was pursuing remained in any mind, it assuredly vanished as the cheers of the citizens of Mobile greeted my ears. I felt that, in spite of my being a woman, I was intended for a military leader, and I resolved, more firmly than ever, to let nothing stand in the way of my winning the fame I coveted.

A Genuine Surprise.

At Pensacola we were received by my husband, who came to meet us in response to a telegraphic despatch I had sent him, signed by my nom de guerre. He had not the slightest idea who I was, and would not have recognized me had I not revealed myself. So soon as I was able, however, after landing my men from the train, I took him aside where I could speak to him privately, and disclosed my identity. He was intensely astonished, and greatly grieved, to see me come marching into Pensacola at the head of a body of men in such a guise, and said, that although I had done nobly, he would not for the world have had me attempt such a thing. I told him, however, that there was no use of discussing the matter, for I was determined to be a soldier, and then placed in his hands the muster-rolls of my company, to show him how well I could do what I undertook. He was proud of the ability I had displayed in carrying out my plans, and seeing the uselessness of further argument, took command of the men, and commenced putting them in training. After they were mustered in, and stationed in camp, Thomas C. De Caulp was appointed first lieutenant, and Frank Murdock second lieutenant, while I was ordered back to New Orleans to purchase more stores and equipments.

The Death Of My Husband.

I had scarcely arrived at my destination when I received a despatch announcing the death of my husband, and requesting my immediate return. Terribly shocked, and nearly wild with grief, I started for Pensacola again, and found, upon my arrival there, that, while drilling his men, my husband undertook to explain the use of the carbine to one of the sergeants, and the weapon exploded in his hands, killing him almost instantly. I was now alone in the world, and more than ever disposed to take an active part in the war, if only for the purpose of revenging my husband's death. Smothering my grief as much as possible, I turned over the command of my battalion to Lieutenant De Caulp, for the double reason that the men were only enlisted for three months, and were to be stationed in Pensacola, or its vicinity, where there was not much prospect of very active service just then, and that I had resolved to go to the front in the character of an independent, with a view of leading a life of more stirring adventures than I probably should be able to do if permanently attached to a particular command.

A Pretty Widow.

During the brief time I had been in Pensacola I had formed the acquaintance of a number of officers who were going to the front, and, as they intended to leave for Richmond shortly, I concluded that it would be better to go in their company, especially as several of them were first-rate fellows, and one or two particular friends of my late husband. I also became acquainted with a good many ladies, one of whom, a dashing young widow, paid my masculine charms the compliment of falling desperately in love with them. This lady did not require any encouragement from me; but finding that, while polite to her, I was rather shy and reserved, and apparently insensible to her attractions, she made a dead set at me, and took pains to let me know, in terms that could not be misunderstood, the sentiments she felt for me.

I was really in no mood for nonsense of this kind, and, to tell the truth, I was not particularly pleased with the decidedly unfeminine advances that were made towards me. The necessity of playing the character I had assumed, however, in a successful manner, pressed upon me, and I felt that diversion of some kind was requisite to divert my mind from the sad and gloomy thoughts caused by my bereavement. I accordingly determined to meet my fair one half way, and paid her numerous attentions, such as taking her to the theatre, and to drive upon the beach. I, however, resolutely refused to accept any of the numerous very broad hints she threw out, to the effect that a little more love-making would be more than agreeable, at which she seemed considerably surprised. Finding, at length, that I either could not or would not understand what she was driving at, she bluntly reproached me for not being more tender in my demonstrations towards her. I put on the innocent air of a green schoolboy, perfectly nonplussed with the advances of a pretty woman, and assured her that I had never courted a lady in my life, and really did not know how to begin. The eagerness with which the widow undertook to instruct me, was decidedly comical, and I learned more about some of the fine points of feminine human nature from her in a week, than I had picked up for myself in twenty years. The courting was pretty much all on her side, and I really had not imagined before that it was possible for a lady to take such an important matter so entirely out of the gentleman's hands. For the fun of the thing I pretended to soften to her, and by the time I was ready to start for Virginia, we were the best possible friends; and although I was careful to make no definite promises, the widow parted from me with the understanding that when the war was over we were to be something more than friends to each other. If I were a man, it would be absurd for me to tell all this, but being a woman, this and other of my love adventures have a comical interest for me, as I doubt not they will have for the reader. If they do not show some of the members of my own sex in the best possible light, it is their fault and not mine.

Off For Virginia.

On the 16th of June I started for Virginia, in company with quite a jovial party of fellows, who were much disposed to make a frolic of their journey. They had a good deal of whiskey with them, and I was constantly importuned to drink, my declining to do so not having the best possible effect on some of them. The conversation became more and more profane and ribald, as the wiskey produced its natural effect; and being almost the only sober person in the party, I was not only intensely disgusted, but the warnings I had received from my husband came into my mind, and had a most depressing influence upon me. Much of the talk was mere meaningless blackguardism, and my ears were saluted for the first time with nastiness in the shape of language, such as it would have been impossible for me to have imagined the tongues of human beings to utter. It was an intense relief to me when, about four o'clock, the train arrived at Montgomery, and I was able to get by myself for a little while.

At the Exchange Hotel I met Mr. Leroy P. Walker, the secretary of war, with whom I had a very pleasant conversation about the prospects of the contest with the North, the political situation, and other matters of interest. The next day I bought a smart and mannerly negro boy, named Bob, of about eighteen years of age. I procured him a proper suit of clothes and a military cap, and then gave him charge of my baggage, with instructions to keep a sharp eye on my effects, to behave himself properly, and to come to me when he wanted spending money. Bob proved an excellent servant, taking care of my clothing in good style, and when we were in camp, attending to my two horses in a very satisfactory manner.

From Montgomery I went to Columbia, South Carolina, where I remained over for several days. During my stay in this place I formed the acquaintance of a very pleasant family, one of the young ladies of which, Miss Lou, seemed to be quite taken with me. I was invited to the house, and passed a number of agreeable hours there, and on parting, Miss Lou gave me her address, requesting me to write to her, and pinned a small C. S. flag on my coat.

On the train bound north, there was another quite jovial party, but, very much to my gratification, not so much addicted to whiskey-drinking, blasphemy, and obscenity, as that with which I had started out. A good deal of the conversation was about wives and sweethearts and pictures of the loved ones at home were freely handed about. I was rallied rather severely because I could not show a photograph of my sweetheart, and some of the men intimated that I must be a poor kind of a man not to be able to find a girl to exchange photographs with me. I took the sharp things they thought fit to say of me in good part, and replied that I did not doubt of my ability to get a sweetheart soon enough when I wanted one.

A Lady's Man.

Before the journey was ended, I had an opportunity to prove myself as good a lady's man as the best of them, for at Lynchburg, where we were compelled to remain over all night, on taking the train for Richmond, an elderly gentleman stepped up, and after inquiring my destination, asked if I could take charge of some ladies. I replied that I would do so with pleasure; but was rather taken aback when I found myself placed in the position of escort to five women and two children. I could not imagine what induced the old gentleman to pick out a little fellow like me, when so many much larger, older, and more experienced officers were present, some of whom were greatly my superiors in rank. I was dreadfully embarassed, but resolved to play the gallant to the best of my ability, although my heart was in my throat, and I could scarcely find voice to announce myself as Lieutenant Buford, when he inquired my name for the purpose of introducing me.

I was about to inquire whether the ladies had their tickets and checks, when the old gentleman presented them, very much to my satisfaction. Excusing myself for a few moments, I went to attend to checking my own baggage. While I was engaged in this occupation, an officer of my party, who was tolerably full of liquor, approached, and slapping me on the back, exclaimed, "You're a lucky fellow to fall in with such a nice lot of feminines; won't you introduce me?"

"Not unless the ladies give their consent," I replied. "If they are willing, and a good opportunity offers, I have no objections."

Just then the bell rang, and I hastened to escort the ladies to the car. My tipsy friend, who was determined to show his gallantry at all hazards, whether his services were agreeable or not, stood ready to lend his assistance; but as he could not but make himself offensive in the condition he was in, I determined to snub him so completely that he would not have the temerity to intrude on us again. Drawing myself up to my full height, and putting on as severe a manner as I could command, I said, "Excuse me, sir, but these ladies are under my charge, and I am able to take care of them without assistance."

He gave me a rather defiant look, but otherwise took this snub quietly enough, and went into another car, while I joined the ladies feeling several inches taller, and with an increased confidence in myself.

We were soon under way, and had a pleasant enough ride, or at least it would have been pleasant enough had I not been tormented with the fear that they would penetrate my disguise, and discover that I was not what I pretended to be. No suspicions were excited, however, and we finally arrived at Richmond without anything having happened to mar the enjoyment of the journey. On alighting from the cars, I procured carriages to convey the several members of the party to their destination; two of the ladies, however, accompanied me to the Ballard House, where I obtained rooms for them. The youngest of my newly-found female friends, — a very pretty girl, who seemed to have taken quite a fancy to me, — had the room adjoining mine, and I had scarcely established myself in my new quarters, when a waiter knocked at the door and handed me a card from her, asking me to escort her to supper. I laughed to myself at this, and fancying that I had succeeded in making another conquest, determined to get myself up in the best style I could, and to do credit to the uniform I wore by showing her that her appreciation was not misapplied. I dressed myself in my best apparel, and, after a visit to the barber's, I was ready to play the gallant in the best possible manner.

An Embarrassing Position.

It was all well enough while I was pacing the corridors of the hotel with mademoiselle on my arm, but I confess that my heart failed me when we entered the dining-room, and I fancied that everybody was looking at us. When the big steward, advancing towards us with his politest bow, said, "Lieutenant, step this way with your lady," and then turning to one of the waiters, told him to attend to this gentleman and lady, it seemed to me as if every eye in the room was fixed on me. I was a rather conspicuous object, it is true, for my uniform, made of the best cloth, and trimmed with buttons and gold lace, was well calculated to attract attention, while the lady on my arm being rather taller than myself, made me even more an object for the curious to gaze at than if I had been alone. The probabilities, however, are, that I imagined myself to be creating a much greater sensation than I was, and it was not a great while before I became accustomed to be stared at, and learned not to mind. My feelings on entering the dining-room, however, were not the less unpleasant for being imaginary, and I was in no mood to develop my talents as a conversationalist for the delectation of my companion.

The young lady was nothing daunted by me silence, and chattered away at a great rate on all imaginable subjects, and finally succeeded in putting me somewhat at my ease. I was just beginning to feel a little comfortable, when in came several persons, my friend, the major, among them, whom I had met in Memphis. They sat down nearly opposite to us, on the other side of the room. I could see by their glances in our direction, and by the laughing manner in which they conversed, that they were discussing my lady and me, and I tried all I could to avoid noticing them. The major, however, at length caught my eye and saluted me, and from a motion he made, I was dreadfully afraid that he intended to come over and join us. My lady at length finished her supper, much to my relief, and I hurried her out of the room as fast as I could, and repaired to the drawing-room, where I excused myself on the plea that I had urgent business to attend to, as I intended leaving the city on the first train. She seemed extremely reluctant to part company with me, and would not let me go until I promised to see her again before I left the city. In bidding her good night, she extended her hand; and when I took it, she gave mine a squeeze, that indicated as plain as words that a trifle more forwardness on my part would not be disagreeable. I was a little bit disgusted with her very evident desire to capture me, and was very glad to get her off my hands, my determination on parting being not to see her again if I could avoid doing so.

As I strode down the hall, I was overhauled by my Memphis friends, who were very glad to see me, and asked me all kinds of questions about myself, affairs in Memphis, the operations of the Army of the West, and other matters of similar interest. A good deal of the information I gave them was fictitious, while the rest was made up from telegrams, the newspapers, and conversations I had overheard; but it answered the purposes of the moment, and was probably about as near the truth as the greater part of the war talk that was going on around us. I told them that I intended joining Johnston's army, and that I was bound to have a hand in the fight that was coming off, and was anxious to get to the front as soon as possible.

After some further conversation of this kind, the major proposed that we should take a carriage and see the city. We accordingly drove around for a while, seeing the sights, and visiting numerous bar-rooms and gambling-houses, and before a great while the major, who took rather big drinks every time, was very much inclined to be noisy, and to insist upon our making a night of it with him. I had no desire for his company any longer than I could help, and I especially did not desire to go through with the particular kind of performance which he called "making a night of it;" so, resisting his his importunities, I invited another member of the party, a captain, and a very gentlemanly, quiet sort of a fellow, to play a game of cards with me. The major, finding that he could not get us to join him, started off to hunt other companions, while the captain and I returned to the hotel, where we played "old sledge," until one o'clock in the morning.

On going to my room, I found a note from my lady friend, requesting me to visit her in her chamber. This considerably astonished me, and assuredly did not increase my good opinion of her. I was almost tempted, however, to comply, just for the sake of hearing what she had to say to me, but wisely concluded that, situated as I was, it would be more prudent to avoid any further acquaintance with such a forward specimen of my sex.

I slept late the next morning, having forgotten to give directions for being called, and found, much to my satisfaction, on inquiring of the clerk, that my lady had left before I was out of bed. After breakfast, I ordered Bob to have everything ready for our departure by the six o'clock train. While strolling about the street, I was accosted by an officer, who asked me to show my papers. I told him that I had none, but that I was an independent, and had recruited, and put in the field, at my own expense, a battalion of two hundred and thirty-six men. This seemed to highly delight him, for he shook me warmly by the hand, asked me to step over to his office, where he could furnish me with transportation, and otherwise showed a desire to be of service to me. I thanked him, but declined the offer, on the plea that I proposed to pay my own way.

During the day I bought two horses and shipped them, and provided myself with a number of articles necessary for the campaign upon which I was about entering. Returning to the hotel, I paid my bill, had a lunch put up, and my baggage got ready, while Bob blacked my hoots and brushed my coat. As ill luck would have it, however, I missed the six o'clock train, and was consequently compelled to remain another night in Richmond. The next morning, however, Bob and I were off in the five o'clock train, the darkey apparently as anxious as myself to see what fighting really was.


Joining the Army in the Field. — Trying to get a Commission. — The Skirmish at Blackburn's Ford. — Burying the Dead. — I attach myself to General Bee's Command. — The Night before the Battle of Bull Run. — A sound Sleep. — The Morning of the Battle. — A magnificent Scene. — The Approach of the Enemy. — Commencement of the Fight. — An Exchange of Compliments between old Friends. — Bee's Order to fall back, and his Rally. — "Stonewall" Jackson. — The Battle at its fiercest. — The Scene at Midday. — Huge Clouds of Dust and Smoke. — Some tough Fighting. — How Beauregard and Johnston rallied their Men. — The Contest for the Possession of the Plateau. — Bee and Bartow killed. — Arrival of Kirby Smith with Re-enforcements. — The Victory Won. — Application for Promotion. — Return to Richmond.

T WAS now about to enter upon the realization of all my dreams, to see some real warfare, to engage in real battles, to do some real fighting, and, as I fondly hoped, to have some opportunities of distinguishing myself in a signal manner. I was never in better health and spirit than on that bright summer morning, when I left Richmond for the purpose of joining the forces of the Confederacy in the face of the enemy; and the nearer we approached our destination, the more elated did I become at the prospect before me of being able to prove myself as good a fighter as any of the gallant men who had taken up arms in behalf of the cause of Southern independence. I had only one fear, and that was, that I should be stopped on account of not having the proper papers; but my motto was, "Nothing venture, nothing have;" and I was bent on facing the thing through, and trusting to luck to bring me out all right. Fortunately I had no trouble of any kind, and arrived safely at Clifton, — a supply-station about a dozen miles from the headquarters of the army in the field.

At Clifton I bought a couple of fine horses, and on the 15th of July set out for headquarters, with a view of being assigned to a command where I should have a chance to see some fighting. I sought an interview with a prominent general, but he was in rather a crusty humor; and as he did not seem inclined to talk with me, I concluded not to bother him, but to take my chances as matters might shape themselves for the accomplishment of my designs. His adjutant was more polite, and desired to employ me as a courier; but this did not suit my notions, and I consequently declined. I told him that I was an independent, paying my own expenses, and that the only thing I wanted was an opportunity to take a hand in the coming fight. I suppose he thought that I was entirely too independent for him, for he said no more, but turned away, and went about other affairs.

Trying To Get A Commission.

General Beauregard was in command of the entire army; but I felt a hesitation in approaching him, especially after the rebuff I had just received. Thinking that the shortest way to get what I wanted was to obtain a regular commission, I offered an officer, with whom I became acquainted, five hundred dollars for his. He would not sell, however; and I then went over to Brigadier General Bonham, who was holding Mitchell's Ford, and introduced myself to him. General Bonham looked at me sharply, and asked what company I belonged to.

"To none," I replied. "I belong wherever there is work to do."

"Well," said Bonham, "you are the right sort to have around when a fight is going on. If you stay here a little while, I reckon you will be able to find plenty of work."

I took this as a hint that I might make myself at home, and, bowing myself out of the general's presence, went to look after my boy Bob. The darkey was just beginning to have some appreciation of what fighting was really like, and was badly scared. I told him that if he ran off and left me, I would kill him if I ever caught him again; which threat had its desired effect, for he stuck to me through thick and thin.

The Skirmish At Blackburn's Ford.

At half past twelve o'clock, on the 18th, the enemy made a sharp attack, but did not do any great damage. Kemper's battery, which occupied the ridge on the left of the Centreville road, performed efficient service in holding the Yankees in check. Soon, however, the enemy advanced in strong force, and attacked General Longstreet's brigade at Blackburn's Ford. Our pickets fell slowly back across the Ford, which was crossed by our skirmishers, and for some time a rapid but irregular firing was kept up between the two contending armies. Longstreet, however, soon was in a condition to meet the attack squarely; and bringing about three thousand infantry into position, he succeeded in repulsing the enemy after a sharp skirmish of nearly an hour's duration. Later, Longstreet was re-enforced by Brigadier General Early's brigade, and the enemy finding us too strong for them, was forced to retreat from the field. As they broke and ran, I fired a last shot at them with a dead man's musket, which I picked up. During the greater part of this fight, the men belonging to the two armies who engaged in it were often not more than a few feet from each other, and it seemed more like a series of duels than anything such as I had imagined a battle would be. It was during this affair that I had the pleasure of meeting with a man I had heard a great deal about, — Colonel J. B. Walton, of the Washington artillery. He was a brave man, and a very genial, pleasant fellow.

This skirmish was but the prelude to the great battles of Manassas or Bull's Run, which was fought on the 21st of July, 1861. It served, however, to initiate me, and to make me impatient to see an engagement of real importance, in which I should have an opportunity to make a first-rate display of my fighting qualities. I was the more anxious for a big fight soon, as I had been placed temporarily in command of a company, the senior officer of which had been killed, and I was afraid that if a fight was long delayed I should be superseded, and should be compelled to lose my best chance of distinguishing myself. I had no occasion, however, to be afraid of a fight not coming off, for we had ample information of all the movements of the enemy, and knew that he was about to advance upon us in full force, so that the conflict was likely to begin at almost any moment. I was able, therefore, to take part in the first great battle of the war, under the best possible auspices, and to thus accomplish what had been one of the great objects of my ambition from my earliest childhood. There may have been men who did harder fighting at Bull Run than myself, but no one went through the fight with a stouter heart, or with a greater determination to behave valiantly, and, if possible, to give the enemy a sound thrashing, if only for the sake of affording him an idea of the magnitude of the job he had undertaken in attempting to coerce the Southern people.

Burying The Dead.

On the 18th I assisted, with the rest, to bury the dead, my boy, Bob, rendering us efficient service in the performance of this duty. When night came I was tired out, and, lying down on the bare ground, slept soundly until four o'clock the next morning. When I awoke, I was weary and sore in all my limbs through the unusual exertions I had been compelled to make, and the exposure to the hot sun in the day time, and the damp air and cold ground at night. I was not sick, however; and as I had no doubt that I should soon get used to this kind of rough life, I never thought of giving up, especially as a great battle was impending, upon taking part in which my heart was bent.

At daybreak, on the 19th, I was in my boots, and ready to march. Passing through Ashby's Gap, we reached the little town of Piedmont, on the Manassas Gap Railroad, where we halted. On the 20th, General Johnston arrived at Manassas about noon, and was followed by two Georgia regiments and Jackson's brigade of gallant Virginians. Then came Bernard E. Bee, with the fourth Alabama regiment and the second regiment, and three companies of the eleventh regiment of Mississippians. On account of some delay, or detention on the railroad, it was now found necessary to hold a council of war, and to make some changes in the plans already aranged.

When the troops were once more in motion, I followed Bee's line through a dense wood, as far as Sudley's Road. General Bee, at this place, appointed me a special messenger, and sent me with an order to Colonel Wheat, of the Louisiana battalion, and also to General Evans, whose command was about six hundred yards distant. Evans was an officer whom I had heard much talked of, and whom I greatly desired to see. He was commonly designated, by the officers and men, as "Shanks," and he looked very much as if the kind of liquor he was in the habit of drinking did not agree with him.

It was well known that the Federals intended to attack us in force on Sunday, the 21st, and preparations were made to give them the right kind of a reception when they appeared. Although full of excitement at the prospect of taking part in a great battle, one that, perhaps, would enable us to secure the independence of the South at a single blow, — for the skirmishes in which I had thus far been engaged only seemed to whet my appetite for fighting, and to make me more than ever desirous of seeing what a really desperate-fought battle was like, — I succumbed to the fatigues I had undergone, and passed the greater part of the night, before the terrific conflict at Bull Run, in a dreamless sleep. I had fancied that sleep would be impossible to me under such circumstances; but a very little experience as a soldier was sufficient for me to be able to fall into a soldier's way of doing things, and I soon learned to take my rest as naturally and composedly upon the bare ground as if on the most downy couch, and not even the excitements and anxieties incident to an impending battle could prevent my tired eyes from closing after a long and fatiguing day passed under a broiling July sun.

The Morning Of The Battle Of Bull Run.

On the morning of the day of the battle I was awake at dawn, and ready to play my part in the great drama which was about to begin; and although some of the men around me had been disposed to laugh at the efforts of the little dandified independent to get a chance to display his valor, not one of them was more eager for the fight than myself, or was more bent upon doing deeds of heroism. If I had allowed myself to be irritated by snubs from officers, who behaved as if they thought the results of the war depended upon them alone, I should have gone back to Richmond in disgust several days before the battle came off, and should have resumed the garb of my sex, with a determination never to figure as a man again. I was not to be bluffed by anybody, however; and having come thus far to see and to take a hand in a great battle, I had no thought of turning back for any cause, or under any circumstances, no matter what might be said or thought of me.

I labored under some disadvantages in not having a regular commission, and not being attached to a regular command. This exposed me to slights that would otherwise not have been put upon me, and prevented officers, who would, under some circumstances, have gladly taken advantage of my readiness to attend faithfully to any task assigned me, to avail themselves of my services. On the other hand, my being an independent, enabled me, to a great extent, to choose my own position in the battle, and I probably, therefore, had a better opportunity of distinguishing myself than I should have had otherwise. I was especially bent upon showing some of them, who were disposed to smile at me on account of my petite figure and jaunty air, that I was as good a man as any one of them, and was able to face the enemy as valiantly. This I did show them before the day was over, and I was highly elated at the commendations which some of the best soldiers bestowed upon the "plucky little devil," as they called me.

By the time it was fairly daylight, the preparations for meeting the enemy were well advanced, and the sun rose in all his majesty upon a host of men drawn up in battle array, — the brave among them anxious for the fray to begin, the cowards — and there were plenty of them in both armies, — trembling in their boots, and eager for a pretext to sneak away, and hide themselves from the coming danger. The morning was a beautiful one, although it gave promise of a sweltering day; and the scone presented to my eyes, as I surveyed the field, was one of marvellous beauty and grandeur. I cannot pretend to express in words what I felt, as I found myself one among thousands of combatants, who were about to engage in a deadly and desperate struggle. The supreme moment of my life had arrived, and all the glorious aspirations of my romantic girlhood were on the point of realization. I was elated beyond measure, although cool-headed enough, and watched the preparations going on around me with eager interest. Fear was a word I did not know the meaning of; and as I noted the ashy faces, and the trembling limbs of some of the men about me, I almost wished that I could feel a little fear, if only for the sake of sympathizing with the poor devils. I do not say this for brag, for I despise braggarts as much as I do cowards; but, in a narrative like this, the reader has a right to know what my feelings, as well as my impressions, were, upon so important an occasion as my appearance as a combatant upon the battle-field, where the Confederate troops first gave the enemy a taste of their genuine quality, and achieved their first great victory.

The Advance Of The Enemy.

As the hot July sun mounted upwards through the almost cloudless sky, and the mists of the morning disappeared before his ardent beams, the approach of the enemy could be distinctly traced by the clouds of dust raised by the tramping of thousands of feet, and, once in a great while, the gleam of the bayonets was discerned among the heavy clumps of timber that covered the undulating plain which the commanders of the armies of the South and the North had selected for their first trial of strategy and of strength. The desultory firing with which the battle opened soon was followed by rapid volleys, and ere the morning was far advanced, the sharp rattling of the musketry, the roar of the artillery, and the yelling of the soldiers, developed into an incessant tumult; while along the entire line, for miles, arose clouds of yellow dust and blue smoke, as the desperateness of the conflict increased, and the men on either side became excited with the work they had in hand.

It soon became apparent that the position in which fortune had placed me was to be the chief point of the Federal attack, and that my immediate comrades would be compelled to bear the brunt of the battle. The gallant Colonel Wheat was severely wounded early in the day, but he succeeded in checking the advance of the enemy, and in maintaining his position, until General Bee, on being informed of the peril he was in, advanced to the Henry House with the Alabama regiment and Imboden's artillery, and from thence crossed the valley to the support of Evans's command. The Federals were in strong force, there being, probably, fifteen thousand immediately in front of us, and they followed up their first sharp attack with some desperate fighting. The commands of Bee, Evans, and Bartow were all soon actively engaged in resisting the advance of vastly superior numbers, and had quite as much as they could attend to to do it. I attached myself to my favorite officer, Bee, and remained with his command during the entire day.

Bee Orders His Men To Fall Back.

The Federal artillery, which sent its shell showering over us, and bursting in our ranks, creating terrible slaughter, was commanded by an acquaintance of mine, Ricketts. I did the best I could to give him as good as he sent, for the sake of old times when we were friends, and when we neither of us imagined that we would some day be opposed to each other on the battle-field. The Confederates, although greatly outnumbered, succeeded for a long time in maintaining their ground, in spite of the odds against them, and again and again pierced through the enemy's lines. Our men suffered terribly, however, the seventh Georgia and fourth Alabama regiments, especially, being very badly cut up. At length, despite all our efforts, Bee was compelled to give the order for us to fall back, the enemy having been heavily re-enforced by the commands of Sherman and Keyes.

The Federals, doubtless, thought that the victory was theirs when they saw us in retreat. It was a terrible moment, and my heart failed me when I heard Bee's order. I was wrought up to such a pitch of excitement, while the fight was going on, that I had no comprehension whatever of the value of the movements being made by the different commanders. I only saw the enemy before me, and was inspired by an eager desire to conquer him. I forgot that I was but a single figure in a great military scheme; and as, while we stood face to face with the foe, every man on the other side became for the moment my personal enemy, whom I was furious to overcome, so, when by the general's command, we were compelled to fall back, I was overcome with rage and indignation, and felt all the shame and mortification of a personal defeat.

"Stonewall" Jackson.

I soon, however, saw the object Bee had in view in his momentary retreat, when he rallied his men in the rear of a house, and gave them a breathing spell, until Wade Hampton's legion and Jackson's brigade could come to their assistance. This movement on the part of Bee afforded me an opportunity to cool off a little, and to observe the ebb and flow of the tide of battle more critically. I ere long was able to understand the general plan upon which the action was being conducted, and to view the combatants as masses to be wielded in a certain way for the accomplishment of definite objects, and not as a mere howling mob, bent only on a momentary success. From this point, therefore, the battle became more interesting than ever, and while none the less exciting, simply as a personal adventure, — for my spirit rose and sank as victory or defeat seemed likely to rest upon our banners, — I was more under the dominion of my reason, and less of my passions, than I had been when the fight commenced.

Bee rallied his men, with a voice of thunder, saying, "My boys, at them again! Victory or death! See how Jackson stands there like a stone wall." This last expression seemed to please the men mightily, for they took it up immediately; and with a cheer for "Stonewall" Jackson, they made another dash at the enemy.

At noon the battle was at its fiercest, and the scene was grand beyond description. The simile that came into my mind was the great Desert of Sahara, with a broiling sun overhead, and immense whirlwinds of sand rolling along over the plain between heaven and earth. The red dust from the parched and sun-dried roads arose in clouds in every direction, while the smoke from the artillery and musketry slowly floated aloft in huge, fantastic columns, marking the places where the battle was being fought with most bitterness. The dry and motionless air was choking to the nostrils, from the dust and smoke which filled it, while the pitiless July sun poured its hottest rays upon the parched and weary combatants. It was a sight never to be forgotten, — one of those magnificent spectacles that cannot be imagined, and that no description, no matter how eloquent, can do justice to. I would not have missed it for the wealth of the world, and was more than repaid for all that I had undergone, and all the risks to my person and my womanly reputation that I incurred, in being not only a spectator, but an actor, in such a sublime, living drama.

The Pinch Of The Fight.

At the moment when Bee rallied his men for another grapple with the enemy, I would have given anything could I but have had the strength to make a clean sweep of our opponents, and, by a single blow, end the great struggle. Looking towards the hill which, in the morning, had been occupied by three of our bravest and best generals — Beauregard, Johnston, and Bonham — and their staffs, I saw it covered with men fighting with desperation; all along the valley were dense clouds of dust and smoke, while the yells of the excited soldiery, and the roar of the guns, were almost deafening.

Hard pressed by the greatly superior Federal force, our men at several points wavered and fell back, and at one time there was every prospect of a panic. This disgrace was spared, however, largely by the personal exertions of Beauregard and Johnston, who darted along the line, and succeeded in rallying the men, and in bringing them up to their work again. General Johnston turned the fortunes of the day by charging on the enemy, with the colors of the fourth Alabama regiment at his side. This was the pinch of the fight; for the enemy were bearing down upon us with a large force of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, and the personal example of Generals Beauregard, Johnston, and other prominent officers, who plunged into the thickest of the mêlée, had an immense effect in encouraging the men to resist to the last, no matter what the odds against them might be.

The fiercer the conflict grew the more my courage rose. The example of my commanders, the desire to avenge my slaughtered comrades, the salvation of the cause which I had espoused, all inspired me to do my utmost; and no man on the field that day fought with more energy or determination than the woman who figured as Lieutenant Harry T. Buford.

At two o'clock the right of Beauregard's line was ordered to advance — with the exception of the reserves — to recover the plateau, for the possession of which both armies had been fiercely contending. Stonewall Jackson succeeded in piercing the enemy's centre, but his troops suffered terribly in doing so. Bee, while leading his fourth Alabama regiment in a charge, fell mortally wounded about a hundred yards from the Henry House. Fifty yards farther north, Bartow was shot, and was caught, as he fell from his horse, by General Gartrell, then commanding the 7th Georgia, and by his order carried to the rear. His last words were, "Boys, I am killed; but don't give up the field." Colonel Fisher, of the sixth North Carolina regiment, was also among the killed. He was a noble fellow. The conflict now became more bitter than ever, and at one time it seemed that we should be compelled to succumb to the fierce attacks which the enemy were making against us. At this crisis, a courier came up to me with a message for General Johnston, to the effect that the Federals had reached the line of the Manassas Gap Railroad, and were marching on us with a heavy force. Had this information been correct, it would have been all up with us. Fortunately, however, the advancing troops were those of Kirby Smith, and consisted of about two thousand infantry and Beekman's artillery. The arrival of this force decided the fate of the battle, and the Federals fled, defeated, from the field, while our army fell back to Manassas Junction.

After the battle, I appealed to General Jackson for the promotion which I considered that I had fully earned, and he gave me a recommendation to General Bragg for a recruiting commission. This I did not care about, for I thought that I did not need his permission or his aid to do recruiting duty, and determined to wait and see if something better would not offer. I accordingly remained for some time with my acquaintances of the fifth and eighth Louisiana regiment, hoping that another battle would come off at an early day. Finding, however, that there was no prospect of a fight very soon, and becoming tired of inactivity, I determined to return to Richmond, for the purpose of seeing whether it was not possible for me to find some work to do suited to my abilities.


Erroneous Ideas about the War. — Some of the Effects of the Battle of Bull Run. — The Victory not in all Respects a Benefit to the Cause of the Confederacy. — Undue Elation of Soldiers and Civilians. — Richmond demoralized. — A Quarrel with a drunken Officer. — An Insult resented. — I leave Richmond. — Prospect of another Battle. — Cutting a Dash in Leesburg. — A little love Affair. — Stern Parents. — A clandestine Meeting. — Love's young Dream. — Disappointed Affections. — In Front of the Enemy once more. — A Battle expected to come off.

T HAVE remarked in a previous chapter with regard to the men belonging to the battalion which I recruited in Arkansas, that they seemed to be under the idea that they were going on a pleasant holiday excursion, rather than that they were engaging in a very serious business, which would demand all their energies, if the object they had in view was to be secured. I frankly confess that I was not altogether free from the feeling which prevailed, not merely with the young fellows like my Arkansas recruits, who were glad of any pretext for getting away from their rather dismal surroundings, and who thought that fighting the Yankees would be good fun, but with all classes of society. The expression constantly heard, that one Southerner could whip five Yankees, was not mere bounce, but it really represented what nearly everybody thought; and very few had any doubt as to the speedy end of the conflict that had been begun, or that it would end in the recognition of Southern independence. It took time to convince our people that they had no holiday task to perform; but the difficulty of effectively forcing the Federal lines, in spite of victories won by Confederate arms in the field, combined with the privations caused by the constantly increasing efficiency of the blockade, at length compelled all classes of people at the South to realize the fact that they had a tough job on their hands, and that if they expected to obtain their independence it would be necessary for them to work, and to work hard for it.

In many respects, the victory at Bull Run was anything but a benefit to the South. The panic which overtook the Federal soldiers, so far from communicating itself to the people of the North, only inspired them with a determination to wipe out the disgrace, and they hurried men to the front with such rapidity and in such numbers, that they soon had a force in the field which compelled the Confederates to act upon the defensive, and to think about the means of resisting invasion instead of attempting to assume the aggressive. On the other hand, not only the men who fought at Bull Run, but the whole South, were greatly elated at having won the first great battle; and, overestimating the importance of their victory, they were more than ever impressed with the idea that whipping the Yankees was a remarkable easy thing to do.

Relaxation In Discipline.

The result of all this was, that discipline in the army, instead of being kept up to the best standard, was relaxed, and hundreds of good fighting men, who thought that the war was virtually over, were permitted to go home, while many others lounged round the camps, or went to Richmond, for the purpose of having a good time, when they ought to have been following up their success by further blows at the enemy.

It is easy enough now to see the mistakes that were made, and any narrative of the war would be incomplete were not some note made of them. I do not pretend, however, that I was any wiser at the time them other people, or that I had any better appreciation of the magnitude of the task we had before us. Experience is a bitter teacher; and Experience in this case was too late in giving her instructions for it to do any good.

As for myself, I was just like hundreds of other young officers, eager to fight as much for the excitement of the thing as anything else; but having little comprehension of the real situation, or the gigantic obstacles which stood in the way of the realization of our hopes, I chafed at the inactivity which followed the battle of Bull Run, hoping for another engagement which would enable me to display my valor, but was disposed to have as good a time as was possible while the thing lasted, whether any fighting was going on or not.

The victory at Bull Run, while it elated the whole Southern people, and very greatly excited their hopes and expectations, was most demoralizing to Richmond, to which city the capital of the Confederacy had been removed a short time before the battle came off. Crowds of soldiers, officers, and privates thronged the streets, when they ought to have been on duty in the field; while innumerable adventurers, male and female, were attracted to the seat of government in the hope of making something out of the war, careless of what happened so long as they were able to fill their pockets. Money was plenty, entirely too plenty, and the drinking-saloons, gambling-houses, and worse resorts, reaped a rich harvest. For a time all went merrily; but after a while, as month after month wore away, and no substantial fruits of our brilliant victory were reaped, and the prospect of a severe contest became every day more decided, those who, like myself, had their hearts in the cause, began to be impatient and disgusted at the inactivity that prevailed, and were disposed to do a good deal of growling. I confess that I enjoyed the excitement of life in Richmond at this period hugely for a time, but I soon had enough of it, and was glad to get away.

After the battle of Bull Run I did as much tall talking as anybody, and swaggered about in fine style, sporting my uniform for the admiration of the ladies, and making myself agreeable to them in a manner that excited the envy of the men, and raised me immensely in my own esteem; for I began to pride myself as much upon being a successful lady's man as upon being a valiant soldier.

A Little Unpleasantness.

The only adventure of any consequence that I had in Richmond, however, was a difficulty with a lieutenant, who started a quarrel with me without the slightest provocation on my part, and who, finding me apparently indisposed to have any words with him, seemed to think that he could insult me with impunity. I stood a good bit of insolence from him on account of his being in liquor, and endeavored to avoid him. As I was much smaller than himself, and so evidently unwilling to quarrel, he probably thought that it was a good opportunity to air the spirit of blackguardism, which is the strongest characteristic of some people, and persisted in following me up. At length I could not stand his insolence any longer, and to put a stop to it slapped his face. He evidently had not expected anything of this kind, for he seemed stunned for a moment, while I walked off, determined to take no further notice of him, unless absolutely compelled to do so. When he recovered himself he gave me a volley of abuse, and threatened to shoot me; but, fortunately for himself, a friend who had seen the encounter stepped up, and taking him in charge, prevented him from making a fool of himself any further. I thought that perhaps he might attempt to revenge himself in some way for the indignity I had put upon him, but he doubtless came to the conclusion that this was a case where discretion was the better part of valor, and so prudently kept out of my way. I never saw his homely visage again, although I every day appeared in the most public places, where he would have had no difficulty in finding me if he had desired to.

One Of Cupid's Mistakes.

Not being successful in getting the kind of appointment I desired at Richmond, I concluded to try my luck elsewhere. I went to Danville, and remained a couple of days, and on my return to Richmond obtained a pass and transportation for the West. When I got as far as Lynchburg, however, I changed my mind, owing to meeting some of the boys from Leesburg, who persuaded me to go there with them, as there was every prospect of another fight coming off soon. This suited me exactly, and to Leesburg I accordingly went, with a full determination to take a hand in a battle if one did come off. The fight did occur, although not so soon as I expected or wished, and I played my part in it as successfully as I had done at Bull Run. In the mean time, however, I splurged around Leesburg in fine style, and enjoyed myself immensely, being quite as successful as I had been in other places in winning the regards of the members of my own sex, not one of whom appeared to have the slightest suspicion that I was other than I pretended to be.

One young lady in particular, Miss E., showed a marked regard for me; and as she was a very charming girl, our acquaintance would probably have developed into a decided attachment, had I not been sailing under false colors. I was sorry that I could not reciprocate, in a proper manner, the very evident partiality she displayed towards me; and I more than half regretted that I permitted matters to go as far as I did, when I found what an impression I was making on her susceptible heart. It was necessary for me to sustain the character I had assumed, of a dashing young officer; and, situated as I was, it was important that I should make myself as agreeable as possible to the members of my own sex. Apart from this, however, much of the male society into which I was thrown was so very disagreeable to me, that I was glad to escape from it by seeking that of lady friends. It afforded me some amusement, too, to carry on a bit of a flirtation with a nice girl; and I was very much tempted to entertain myself in this manner, without reflecting very deeply as to the consequences. I am very willing to admit that I ought not to have acted as I did in this, and some other similar cases; and if anything should occur to induce me to assume male attire again, I should carefully avoid making love to young ladies, unless I had occasion to do so for the immediate furtherance of my plans. My error in allowing myself to indulge in flirtations with my own sex, arose from thoughtlessness, and from a desire to play my part to the best advantage; and I am sure my readers will forgive me, as I hope the youug ladies, whom I induced to indulge false expectations, will, when the publication of this narrative makes known to the world the whole truth about the identity of Lieutenant Harry T. Buford, C. S. A.

A Cool Reception.

I met Miss E., by accident, in a store, and she was introduced to me by a youug dry goods clerk, with whom I had struck up an acquaintance. After a little conversation on indifferent subjects, she gave me a very pressing invitation to call on her. I said that I would do myself the honor, and accordingly put in an appearance, dressed in my best, at her residence. She received me with many smiles and with great cordiality, and introduced me to her father and mother. As I noticed that the old people were rather inclined to be a little cool, and evidently did not regard me with overmuch favor, I cut short my visit, and, politely bowing myself out, determined, in my own mind, never to enter the house again.

Had I been a man, the conduct of the parents would probably have spurred me to court the favor of the daughter with more pertinacity than ever. I have noticed that parental opposition to a young man generally has this sort of stimulating effect upon him; but, being a woman, I did not look at the thing exactly from a masculine point of view, and, as the French say, Le jeu n'en valait pas la chandelle.

I was sufficiently piqued, however, to accept any advances the young lady might make with some degree of favor, and to revenge myself upon the old people, by making myself intensely agreeable to the daughter, in spite of them. When Miss E., therefore, showed a very marked disposition to continue our acquaintance, I was quite ready to meet her half way.

The next day I met her on the street, and she, with a pleasant smile, said, "I hope that you were not offended last night."

"Certainly not," said I. "Why should I be? Nothing has happened to offend me;" just as if I had not noticed the behavior of her parents.

"O, yes, there has," she answered. "Pa did not behave at all polite to you; but then he treats all the young men who come to see me in the same way, so you must not mind him."

She then informed me that, if I wished, I could see her at her cousin's; and as she seemed to be exceed anxious to have me call upon her again, I consented to do so. As we walked up the street together she pointed out her cousin's house, and I made an appointment to meet her there the next day, at five o'clock. I then went with her to within a short distance of her home, but declined to go to the door; not that I cared for what the old folks might say or think, but because I thought that perhaps she might get a scolding.

On parting with my little lady, I went immediately to a livery stable, and, hiring a team, ordered my boy Bob to drive past Miss E.'s home, for the sake of showing the old gentleman what kind of style I could put on. Then going to the dry goods store, I took my friend, the clerk, out with me for a turn around the town, but did not inform him with regard to what had occurred between the young lady and myself.

I was punctual in keeping my appointment with Miss E.; and whether it was that my stylish team had impressed her imagination, or that it was really a case of love at first sight, she was even more cordial in her manner towards me than on the previous occasions when we had met.

She asked me innumerable questions about myself, where I was from, who were my parents, and seemed to be particularly anxious to find out all about me.

I made up a story that I thought was suited to the occasion and the auditor; and, among other things, told her that I was the son of a millionnaire, that I had joined the army for the fun of the thing, and that I was paying my own expenses.

This seemed to make a great impression, on her; and, with a very significant smile, she said she wished that the war would soon end, and that I would settle permanently in Leesburg. This was a rather broad hint, and I could scarcely refrain from laughing at it; but restraining myself, and keeping my countenance straight, I asked, "Why do you take such a fancy to me, Miss E., when there are so many elegant, accomplished, and wealthy young men in Leesburg, with whom you have been acquainted for a long time? You know nothing whatever of me."

"It won't be hard for us to become better acquainted," she replied.

"Well," said I, "I don't want to deceive you; but the fact is, I am as good as married already;" and producing a young lady's photograph, which I had in my pocket, added, "I expect to be married to this lady as soon as the war is over."

An Embarrassing Situation.

She turned pale at this, and the tears sprang to her eyes, while I could not but feel regret at having permitted the matter to go thus far. For a time neither of us spoke; and at length, to put an end to a scene that was becoming embarrassing to both of us, I arose, and, extending my hand, said that I must bid her good evening.

She looked at me in a pitiable sort of way, and said, "Will I never see you again?"

I answered that she might, if I was not killed, but a battle was expected shortly, and it was my intention to take part in it. I then said adieu, and precipitately left her, not feeling altogether comfortable about the affair; but judging, as a woman, that the young lady would, before a great while, find herself heart-whole, and be none the worse for having permitted herself to become unduly interested in Lieutenant Harry T. Buford.

So ended my Leesburg flirtation; and a desire to avoid meeting Miss E. again, at least until she had had time to recover her equanimity, as well as my eager wish to see some more fighting, induced me to leave the town as soon as possible.


An Appetite for Fighting. — The Sensations of the Battle-Field. — My Second Battle. — The Conflict at Ball's Bluff. — My Arrival at General Evans's Headquarters. — Meeting an old Acquaintance. — Hospitalities of the Camp. — The Morning of the Battle. — Commencement of the Fight. — A fierce Struggle. — In Charge of a Company. — A suspicious Story. — Bob figures as a Combatant. — Rout of the Enemy. — The Federals driven over the Bluff into the River. — I capture some Prisoners. — A heart-rending Spectacle. — Escape of Colonel Devens, of the Fifteenth Massachusetts Regiment, by swimming across the River. — Sinking of the Boats with the wounded Federals in them. — Night, and the End of the Battle.

IT might be supposed that one battle would have been enough for me, and that after having seen, as at Bull Run, the carnage incident to a desperate conflict between thousands of infuriated combatants, I should have been glad to have abandoned a soldiers career, and to have devoted myself to the service of the Confederacy in some other capacity than that of a fighter. Indeed, it so turned out, that the most efficient services I did perform in behalf of the cause which I espoused, were other than those of a strictly military character, although quite as important as any rendered by the bravest fighters when standing face to face to the enemy. But it was, in a measure, due to necessity rather than to original choice, that I undertook work of a different kind from that which I had in my mind when first donning my uniform. We are all of us, more or less, the creatures of circumstances; and when I saw that the fact of my being a woman would enable me to play another rôle from that which I had at first intended, I did not hesitate, but readily accepted what Fate had to offer.

The battle of Bull Run, however, only quickened my ardor to participate in another affair of a similar kind, and the months of enforced inaction, which succeeded that battle, had the effect of making me long, with exceeding eagerness, to experience again the excitement which thrilled me on the sultry July day, when the army of the Confederacy won its first great victory. The sensations which, on the battle-field, overcome a soldier who knows nothing of fear, can only be compared to those of a gambler who is playing for enormous stakes. The more noble origin of the emotions experienced in the one case over those excited by the other does not prevent them from being essentially similar, although the gambler, who is staking his all on the turn of a card, can know little or nothing of the glorious excitement of the soldier engaged in a deadly conflict with an enemy, and feeling that its issue depends upon his putting forth his utmost exertions, and that determined valor can alone secure him the victory.

The Pleasures Of Fighting.

The sensations of a soldier in the thick of a fight baffle description; and, as his hopes rise or sink with the ebb and flow of the battle, as he sees comrades falling about him dead and wounded, hears the sharp hiss of the bullets, the shrieking of the shells, the yells of the soldiers on each side as they smite each other, there is a positive enjoyment in the deadly perils of the occasion that nothing can equal.

At Bull Run, it so happened that I was placed where the fight was hottest, where the enemy made his most determined attacks, where the soldiers of the South made their most desperate resistance, and where, for hours, the fate of the battle trembled in the balance. When at length victory crowned our banners, the enemy fled from the field, and we saw no more of them, and desperate as was the fight, it was, notwithstanding the great number of killed and wounded, unattended with the peculiar horrors, the mere thought of which is calculated to send a shudder through the strongest nerves.

The second battle in which I participated — that at Ball's Bluff — was accompanied by every circumstance of horror; and although in the excitement of the moment, when every faculty of mind and body was at extreme tension, and I was only inspired with an intense eagerness to do my whole duty for my cause, I did not fully realize the enormities of such a slaughter as was involved in the defeat of the Federals at that place, I have never been able to think of it without a shudder, notwithstanding that I have fought on more than one bloody field since. Such scenes, however, are inseparable from warfare, and those who take up arms must steel themselves against them.

In The Field Once More.

It was the 10th of October, 1861, when I left Leesburg and went to the headquarters of General Evans, where I met quite a number of acquaintances, and was received with great cordiality by them. A young officer of the eighteenth Mississippi regiment invited me to take up my quarters with him; but as I had all my camp equipage with me, I preferred setting up my own tent. Seeking General Evans, I showed him my papers, and asked to be employed. He accordingly sent me to Colonel Burt, of the eighth Virginia regiment, who, however, told me that as he had no vacancy in his command, he could do nothing for me. I had no other resource now but to await events, and see what should turn up in my favor, feeling a little disappointed at not being able to become attached definitely to some command, but with ample confidence in my own ability to take care of myself, and to find some means of having a hand in the expected battle, whenever it came off.

A Friend Of My Youth.

At Hunton's headquarters I had the pleasure of meeting Colonel Featherstone, of the seventeenth Mississippi regiment. This fine officer I had known when I was quite a small child, and I was decidedly amused at the idea of renewing my acquaintance with him under existing circumstances. He had not the shadow of an idea that the dashing little lieutenant who stood before him was a woman whom he had known as a child. He, however, took a very polite interest in me, and asked where I was from, and a variety of other questions, which I had to draw rather extensively upon my imagination to answer in proper style. I told him that I belonged to Mississippi, and a good deal more of the same kind of fiction, which, if not quite as interesting as the truth would have been, was sufficiently satisfying for the moment.

After we had chatted a little while, Colonel Featherstone invited me over to his tent, and handing out a bottle of whiskey, told me to help myself.

"No, thank you, colonel," I said; "I never drink anything strong; it does not agree with me, and I accordingly make it a rule not to touch it."

He did not urge me when he noticed that I was very positive in declining; but pouring out a sizable one for himself, said, "Well, a drink of the right kind of liquor, now and then, is a pretty good thing, I think. Here's my regards;" — and, nodding towards me, he swallowed it at a gulp, without winking an eye.

He then said, "Lieutenant, you can turn in here if you wish, if you have not been assigned to quarters. You are welcome to all I have, and can make yourself at home."

I thanked him, and said that there was, fortunately, no necessity for trespassing on his hospitality. Whereupon he said, "If you won't stop with me, come in and see me often. I will be glad to talk to you."

Thanking him again for his kindness, I said good-night, and went over to my own tent, where I found Bob sound asleep. Arousing him, I ordered him to be up by three o'clock in the morning, and to cook plenty of provisions, as we expected something to happen. The darkey knew very well that I meant a fight was probably coming off soon; but by this time he had tolerably well gotten over his first scare, and was beginning to find enjoyment in the excitements of warfare, as well as myself. He grinned, and promised compliance with my order, and I lay down to sleep, convinced from what I had heard during the evening, that my desire to participate in another battle was likely to be gratified very soon.

The Battle Of Ball's Bluff.

The next morning, October 22, I was up, and ready for whatever might happen, at an early hour. Having learned that a large force of the enemy, belonging to the command of Colonel Baker, had succeeded in crossing at Edwards' Ferry, and had gained the Bluffs, prompt preparations were made to give them a warm reception.

The brigade under the command of General Evans consisted of four regiments, — the eighth Virginia, and the thirteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth Mississippi, which were respectively commanded by Colonels Hunton, Burt, Featherstone, and Barksdale. The first brunt of the fight was borne by Lieutenant Colonel Janifer, who, with five companies, was covering the approach to Leesburg.

About twelve o'clock, the eighth Virginia regiment advanced to Janifer's assistance, and this, I saw, was my chance if I wished to participate in the battle. My darkey had his fighting blood up too, and was, apparently, as anxious as I was to have a crack at the enemy; for, he said, "Give me a gun, Mas' Harry. I want to shoot, too."

"You'll have a chance to do some fighting pretty soon, Bob, if I am not mistaken," said I, as we pushed forward as fast as we could in the direction of the firing, which became more rapid every moment.

Immediately on top of the Bluff, where the enemy had succeeded in effecting a landing, and for some distance back, there was a tolerably open piece of ground, cut up somewhat by ridges and hollows, and surrounded by a thick growth of woods. This timber for a while concealed the combatants from each other, and it was impossible for us to tell what force we were contending with. The woods seemed to be alive with combatants, and it was thought that the enemy was strongly fortified. Notwithstanding the uncertainties with regard to the number of our opponents, we attacked with spirit, and for a time the fight was bravely carried on by both armies. The enemy certainly fought exceedingly well, especially considering the precariousness of their position, although, of course, we did not know at the time the attack was made that our foes were in such a desperate predicament.

Colonel Burt, with his eighteenth Mississippi regiment, advanced to the attack on the left of our line, while Janifer and the Virginians held the centre. Burt's Mississippians were compelled to undergo a most terrific fire from the enemy, who were concealed in the hollows, but they succeeded in holding them in check, although they suffered severely, and Colonel Burt himself was numbered among the slain before the victory was won.

The Fight At Its Hottest.

At three o'clock, Colonel Featherstone came up with his regiment, and advanced at a double-quick to the assistance of Burt. The firing now became general all along the line, and the men on both sides seemed to be disposed to fight with the utmost fury. I thought the struggle at Bull Run a desperate one, but that battle at its fiercest did not begin to equal this; and when finally we did succeed in routing the enemy, I experienced a sense of satisfaction and relief that was overwhelming.

For three weary hours the fighting continued without intermission; and although for a long while the result was dubious, at length, as the chilly October day was about closing, the enemy having lost a great number of men and officers, including Colonel Baker, and being hemmed in on three sides, were driven in confusion into the river.

Shortly after the fight commenced, I took charge of a company which had lost all its officers, and I do not think that either my men or myself failed to do our full duty. Perhaps, if I had been compelled to manoeuvre my command in the open field, I might not have done it as skilfully as some others would, although I believe that I could have played the part of a captain quite as well as a good many of them who held regular commissions as commanders of companies, and a good deal better than some others who aspired to be officers before learning the first rudiments of their business, and without having the pluck to conduct themselves before the enemy in a manner at all correspondent to their braggart style of behavior when not smelling gunpowder under compulsion. In this battle, however, fighting as we were for the most part in the woods, there was little or no manoeuvring to be done, and my main duties were to keep the men together, and to set them an example. This latter I certainly did.

After the battle was over, the first lieutenant of the company which I was commanding came in and relieved me, stating that he had been taken prisoner, but had succeeded in making his escape in the confusion incident to the Federal defeat. I did not say anything, but had my very serious doubts as to the story which he told being the exact truth. He had a very sheepish look, as if he was ashamed of himself for playing a sneaking, cowardly trick; and I shall always believe that when the firing commenced, he found an opportunity to slink away to the rear for the purpose of getting out of the reach of danger.

I have seen a good many officers like this one, who were brave enough when strutting about in the streets of cities and villages, showing themselves off in their uniforms to the women, or when airing their authority in camp, by bullying the soldiers under them, but who were the most arrant cowards under fire, and who ought to have been court-marshalled and shot, instead of being permitted to disgrace their uniforms, and to demoralize their men, by their dastardly behavior when in the face of the enemy. My colored boy Bob was a better soldier than some of the white men who thought themselves immensely his superiors; and having possessed himself of a gun, he fought as well as he knew how, like the rest of us. When the enemy gave way, I could hear Bob yelling vociferously; and I confess that I was proud of the darkey's pluck and enthusiasm.

The Enemy Put To Flight.

The daylight was beginning to fail, when, at length, the enemy broke, and ran towards the river, a confused mob of fugitives, instead of an organized and disciplined army. I was so wearied that I could scarcely stand. But at this moment I would rather have died than have faltered. All my Southern blood was stirred in my veins, and however little my help might be, I was resolved to give it to complete the victory.

The yells of triumph that broke from our boys, as they saw their foes flying before them, were terrific; and they rushed after them, pursuing them through the woods, and over the open ground, to the very edge of the Bluff. General Evans gave orders to drive them into the river, or to capture them; and every officer and man seemed animated by a determination to make the defeat of the enemy as signal as possible. I advanced my company, in compliance with Evans's orders, until we neared the river, when I called a halt; saying, as I did so, to the boys, "This is warm work, but they are badly whipped, I think."

Looking under me into a little ravine, I espied a Yankee sergeant reaching for a musket, evidently with the intention of treating me to its contents. Levelling a pistol at him, I cried out, "No, you don't! Drop that, and come up here, you scoundrel!"

He obeyed in very short order; and when he had reached me, I said, "What do you mean by that? If it wasn't for having the name of murdering a prisoner, I would shoot you."

He answered, sullenly, "I don't care a d——n whether you do or not;" and I don't believe that he did care much, just then, for he evidently felt badly at having been defeated.

While talking with this prisoner, a number of other fugitives were discovered hid in the gulleys, whom I immediately captured.

"To what command do you belong?" I asked.

They told me that they belonged to the fifteenth Massachusetts regiment, but that the army was under the command of General Stone.

Horrible Incidents.

At the point where I stood the Potomac River was very wide, and it presented a sight such as I prayed that I might never behold again. The enemy were literally driven down the Bluff, and into the river, and crowds of them were floundering in the water, and grappling with death. This horrible spectacle made me shudder; for, although they were my foes, they were human beings, and my heart must have been hard, indeed, could it not have felt for their sufferings. I was willing to fight them to death's door in the open field, and to ask no favors, taking the same chances for life as they had; but I had no heart for their ruthless slaughter. All the woman in me revolted at the fiendish delight which some of our soldiers displayed at the sight of the terrible agony endured by those who had, but a short time before, been contesting the field with them so valiantly, and I could scarcely refrain from making some decisive effort to put a stop to the carnage, and to relieve my suffering foes. For the first time since putting on my uniform I was thrown off my guard, and should certainly have done something to betray my secret had I not fortunately restrained myself in time. Such scenes as these, however, are inseparable from warfare, and they must be endured by those who adopt a soldier's career. The pitiable spectacles which followed our brilliant victory at Ball's Bluff, however, had the effect of satisfying my appetite for fighting for a time; and after it was all over, I was by no means as anxious for another battle, as I had been after the victory at Bull Run.

I have not the ability to give a minute description of the horrid incidents attending the rout of the Federals at Ball's Bluff, even if I had the disposition. As this battle, however, was an important event in my military career, and as it made a very painful impression upon me, some account, even if a very meagre one, of one of the most striking features of the affair, seems to be necessary in order to make my narrative complete.

When the enemy broke before the galling fire which we poured into them, they stampeded for the river, a disordered and panic-stricken crowd. Over the Bluff they went, pell-mell, leaping, rolling, and tumbling, more like a herd of frightened buffalo fleeing from the savages of the plains, than human beings, hundreds being shot down while attempting to cross, and hundreds of others being captured before they could gain the river. I was sick with horror; and as the cold shivers ran through me, and my heart stood still in my bosom, I shut my eyes for a moment, wishing that it was all over, but only to open them again to gaze on a spectacle that had a terrible fascination for me, in spite of its horrors.

Escape Of Colonel Devens.

Directly, one of the prisoners whom I was guarding, shouted, "There goes my colonel!"

"What is his name?" I inquired.

"Colonel Devens, of the fifteenth Massachusetts regiment," he replied, as he pointed to a figure striking out in an attempt to swim across the river.

I said, "I hope the poor fellow will get safely to land, for he has fought bravely, and deserves a better fate than a watery grave."

Colonel Devens, it appears, in the confusion got separated from his men, and seeing no chance of rallying them, or of doing anything to turn the tide of defeat, had, when all hope of ever effecting an orderly retreat was gone, sought to save himself in the desperate manner I have indicated. He was, apparently, a powerful swimmer, for he was soon out of musket-shot, and I believe he managed to gain the other shore. He had my best wishes in the attempt at any rate, for I have not a cruel or vindictive nature, and at this time my womanly sympathies were being awakened in the liveliest manner.

When the rout began, there was but one boat in the river, and this was quickly filled with a struggling mass of humanity, each man being intent only on making good his own escape from the deadly fire of the Confederates. On the bank, a dense crowd of fugitives were throwing away their arms, and divesting themselves of their clothing, some of them, apparently, resolved to save themselves, like Colonel Devens, by swimming. A large number of those who plunged into the river were drowned in the icy waters, and the shrieks of these poor fellows fairly appalled me as I heard them, and rang in my ears for days afterwards.

Our men had orders to keep up a fire from the Bluff, and only too many seemed to delight in the bloody work, as they poured volley after volley into the fugitives. On my left, a Federal captain came charging up the hill at the head of his men, apparently not aware of the full extent of the disaster which had befallen his comrades. As soon, however, as he reached a place where he could survey the field, he saw plainly that it was useless to attempt further resistance, and so he raised a white flag, and surrendered himself and command.

I fired my revolver at another officer — a major, I believe — who was in the act of jumping into the river. I saw him spring into the air, and fall; and then turned my head away, shuddering at what I had done, although I believed that it was only my duty. An officer near me exclaimed, "Lieutenant, your ball took him;" — words that sent a thrill of horror through me.

The most awful episode of the day was the sinking of the boats containing the wounded and dying; and from this I turned away, sick at heart, unable to endure the sight of it.

So ended the battle of Ball's Bluff; and the soldiers of the Confederacy had won another great victory, although at a terrible sacrifice; for many of our bravest officers and men were slain, and a great number severely wounded. I had the satisfaction of knowing that I had done my duty, and had fought as bravely as the bravest. It cost me a pang to think of the noble fellows who fell in defence of the cause they loved, and I particularly mourned the death of the gallant Colonel Burt. I had regrets, too, for the foemen who were so ruthlessly slaughtered, and would willingly have spared them had it been in my power to do so. There were, I think, about nineteen hundred men engaged at Ball's Bluff on the Confederate side, and six pieces of artillery. Exactly how many the Federals had I do not know, but their numbers were certainly equal to ours, if not greater.

When night finally closed upon the battle-field, and put an end to the carnage, I was completely used up by the fatigues and excitements of the day, and not even the terrible scenes which haunted me in my mind's eye, long after I had ceased to gaze upon them, could prevent me from dropping into a sound and dreamless sleep.


Reaction after the Excitements of a Battle. — The Necessity for mental and bodily Occupation. — I form a new Project. — War as we imagine it, and as it is. — Fighting not the only Thing to be done. — The Dreams of Youth, and the Realities of Experience. — The Secret of Success. — The Difficulties which the Confederate Commanders experienced in obtaining Information of the Movements of the Enemy. — What a Woman can do that a Man cannot. — A Visit to Mrs. Tyree. — The only Way of keeping a Secret. — I assume the Garments of my own Sex again as a Disguise. — Getting across the Potomac at Night. — Asleep in a Wheat-Stack. — A suspicious Farmer. — A Friend in Need. — Maryland Hospitality. — Off for Washington.

OF too restless and impulsive a disposition to endure patiently the prolonged inaction which seemed inevitable after a battle, it fretted me to be obliged to lounge about camp, or to participate in the too often most demoralizing amusements of the city, as I had been compelled to do for many weeks after the fight at Bull Run. I was disgusted, too, at the difficulties which presented themselves at every step whenever I attempted to get myself attached to a regular command, or to be assigned for the kind of service which I felt best qualified to perform, and which was most in accordance with my tastes. It was an absolute necessity for me to be in motion, to be doing something, and the slow and inconclusive progress of the military movements annoyed me beyond expression. The inevitable reaction, after the intense excitements of the battle of Ball's Bluff, caused a depression of spirits which I felt I must do something to shake off. The terrible sights and sounds of that battle haunted me night and day, for I could not help thinking of them, and the more I thought of them the more horrible they appeared.

I determined, therefore, very shortly after the battle, to put into execution a project I had for some time been meditating, which would require the exercise of all my faculties, and which would give me constant employment for mind and body, such as the routine of camp life did not afford, and which would compel me to concentrate my mind on the invention and execution of plans for the achievement of definite results for the cause of Southern independence.

Before entering upon the career of a soldier, I of course knew a great deal about military life, having been the wife of an army officer, and having resided at frontier stations, but I had nevertheless very crude and superficial notions about the exigencies of warfare. My ideas, however, were no cruder than those of thousands of others, for it is very doubtful whether any but a few veterans understood what would have to be gone through with by soldiers in the field, especially when large armies were operating against each other over an immense stretch of country.

The books I had read, in which the doings of heroes and heroines were recorded, devoted a large space to the description of battles, and these, as a matter of course, being more interesting and exciting than the other portions, it was only natural, perhaps, that the notion should become fixed in my mind that fighting was a soldier's chief, if not only employment.

Romance And Reality.

I was soon disillusioned on these points, and, after a very brief experience, discovered that actual warfare was far different from what I had supposed it would be. Neither of the battles in which I had thus far been engaged impressed me at all as I had expected they would, although, in some particulars, they were agreeable disappointments; for there was an exhilaration in an actual, hotly-contested fight that far surpassed anything my imagination had pictured. Battles, however, I found were likely to be few and far between, while there were thousands of disagreeable incidents connected with military life which I had never suspected, and of which my husband's warnings had scarcely given me the slightest hint. The inaction of the camp, when one is day after day hoping and half expecting something startling will happen, only to be subjected to perpetual disappointment, and the dull round of camp duties, and the trivial devices adopted to kill time, after a very brief period become most oppressive.

Not only did I discover that fighting was not the only, or the most frequent, employment of the soldier, but I soon awakened to the fact that, in a great war, like the one in which I was now taking part, it was not always the men who wore the uniforms and handled the muskets who performed the most efficient services. As there were other things besides fighting to do, so there must be other than soldiers to perform necessary portions of the work, and to aid in advancing the interests of the cause.

Dreams Of Delusion.

Many of our hopes, anticipations, and aspirations are mere dreams of delusion, which can have no practical fulfilment in this working-day world, and it sometimes costs a pang to dismiss forever a cherished but mistaken idea, and to weave our own web of romance from the parti-colored threads of commonplace reality; it is like parting with a portion of our own being. But, the illusion once dispelled, we are able to step forward more firmly and more resolutely, to act the part which the will of Providence assigns us to play in the great drama of life.

We may regret that the dreams of our youth do not come true, just as we once loved to hope that they would, almost without endeavor on our part; but who shall say that our own life romances, woven out of the tissues of events from day to day, with much labor, doubt, and pain, are not fairer and brighter than any imagination could create? It is good to do one's duty quietly amid the rush of great events, even when the path of duty lies in hidden places, where the gaze of the crowd penetrates not, where applause cannot follow; and one's own satisfaction at duty well and nobly performed, is, after all, the best recompense that can be had.

To be a second Joan of Arc was a mere girlish fancy, which my very first experiences as a soldier dissipated forever; and it did not take me long to discover that I needed no model, but that, to win success in the career I had chosen, I must be simply myself, and not a copy, even in the remotest particular, of anybody else; and that the secret of success consisted in watching the current of events, and in taking advantage of circumstances as they arose.

In a life so novel as that I was now leading, however, it took me some time to become sufficiently informed to be able to do anything effective in the way of shaping my career; I was, of necessity, obliged to go ahead somewhat at random, and to wait and learn, not only what I could do with the best effect, but what there was for me to do. In assuming the garb of a soldier, I had no other idea than to do a soldier's duty: this was my ambition, and I scarcely gave thought to anything else. The experiences of actual warfare, however, soon had the effect of convincing me that a woman like myself, who had a talent for assuming disguises, and who, like me, was possessed of courage, resolution, and energy, backed up by a ready wit, a plausible address, and attractive manners, had it in her power to perform many services of the most vital importance, which it would be impossible for a man to even attempt.

Difficulties In Obtaining Information.

The difficulty which our commander experienced in gaining accurate and thoroughly reliable information with regard to the movements of the enemy, the rumors that prevailed of the enormous preparations being made by the Federal government to crush the South, an insatiable desire to see and to hear for myself what was going on within the enemy's lines, all stimulated me to make an attempt, the hazardous character of which I well knew; but, trusting to my woman's wit to see me safely through, I resolved that the attempt should be made.

My plans were tolerably well matured when the battle of Ball's Bluff took place, and I should probably have put them in execution before I did, had it not been for the insatiate desire I had to take part in another fight. After that battle, I more than ever felt the necessity for some constant, active employment, for I chafed under the ennui of the camp, and felt irresistibly impelled to be moving about and doing something. I accordingly was not long in resolving that the time had now arrived for me to attempt something more than I had yet done, and for me to effect a coup that might either make or mar my fortunes, but that, whatever its result might be, would give me the excitement I craved, and demonstrate my abilities, and my disposition to serve the Confederacy in such a signal manner that it would be impossible for those in authority any longer to ignore me.

A Woman's Advantages And Disadvantages.

A woman labors under some disadvantages in an attempt to fight her own way in the world, and at the same time, from the mere fact that she is a woman, she can often do things that a man cannot. I have no hesitation in saying that I wish I had been created a man instead of a woman. This is what is the matter with nearly all the women who go about complaining of the wrongs of our sex. But, being a woman, I was bent on making the best of it; and having for some time now figured successfully in the garments of the other sex, I resolved upon resuming those of my own for a season, for the accomplishment of a purpose I had in my mind. This purpose I felt sure I could accomplish as a woman; and although I had a tolerably good appreciation of the perils I should run, I had confidence in my abilities to see myself through, and the perils attending my enterprise were incentives, rather than otherwise, for me to attempt it.

Having obtained a letter of introduction to General Leonidas Polk, and my transportation papers, — for it was my intention, after making the trip I had immediately in view, to visit the part of the country in which his army was operating, as it was more familiar to me, and I thought that I could perform more efficient service there than in Virginia, — I turned in my camp equipage to the quartermaster, and bidding farewell to my friends, started off in search of new adventures.

Stopping in Leesburg, I went, in company with a couple of other officers, to pay a visit to Mrs. Tyree, a brave and true-hearted Virginia lady, who, with her interesting family, had suffered greatly through the devastation of her property by the enemy. We tried, by every argument we could imagine, to persuade her to remove to some safer locality, representing that the Federals, though defeated at Ball's Bluff, were likely to repeat the attack at any time, and to march on Leesburg with a large force. Our appeals were in vain, however, and she answered every argument, by saying, "This is my home, and I will perish in it, if necessary." I heartily wished that I had a force of soldiers under my command at the moment, so that I could compel her to remove for her own sake and that of her family; and when I said adieu to her, it was with the sincerest admiration for her inflexible courage and her devotion to the cause of the South.

The Way To Keep A Secret.

Leaving my boy where he would be taken care of, I stated to my acquaintances that I intended to make a journey, and that I expected to be gone about ten days, but did not tell any one where I was going, or what my plans were. No one but myself had the slightest notion as to what project I had on foot, for I felt that success would very largely depend upon my secret being kept to myself, at least until I had accomplished, or had tried to accomplish, what I proposed. What I dreaded more than any dangers I was likely to be exposed to was the ridicule that would probably meet me in case of failure, to say nothing of the probabilities in favor of my sex being discovered, or at least suspected. But ridicule, as well as danger, was what I resolved to brave when putting on male attire, and I really dreaded it less than I did my own heart-burnings in the event of my not winning the desperate game I was playing. The way to keep a secret, as I had long since found out, is not to tell it to anybody; and acting upon this very excellent principle, I have generally succeeded in keeping my secrets — and I have, in my time, had some important ones — until the proper moment for revealing them came. Some people are never happy when possessed of a secret until they have told it to somebody else, of course in the strictest confidence. My experience is that this is a sure way to get the matter, whatever it may be, put into circulation as a bit of general information.

Assuming A New Disguise.

It was necessary, however, for me to have some assistance in getting my enterprise started, just as it had been for me to select a confidant when I first assumed the uniform of an officer; and I would say here that, to the infinite honor of the friend whose aid I sought on that occasion, the secret of my transformation was as faithfully kept as if it were his own; but, as the circumstances were different, a different kind of an agent was in this case selected. My appeal, this time, was to the strongest sentiments of self-interest, and even then my confidant was only intrusted with the knowledge of a change of apparel.

Going to an old negro woman who had washed for me, and who had shown considerable fondness for me, I told her that I intended visiting the Yankees for the purpose of seeing them about coming and freeing the colored folk, and asked her to let me have a suit of woman's clothes, so that I could get through the lines without being stopped. I made up quite a long yarn about what I proposed to do, and the poor old soul, believing all I told her without a moment's hesitation, consented to aid me in every way she could, her ardor being materially quickened by a twenty dollar Confederate note which I handed her.

She was not long in having me attired in the best she had, — a calico dress, a woollen shawl, a sun-bonnet, and a pair of shoes much too large for me, — and hiding away my uniform where it would be safe during my absence, she started me off with a full expectation that I would be back in a couple of weeks, with the whole Yankee army at my back, for the purpose of liberating all the slaves. The old woman put such implicit faith in me that I really felt sorry at deceiving her, but quieted my conscience with the thought that lying was as necessary as fighting in warfare, and that the prospects were that I would be compelled to do much more fibbing than this before the errand upon which I was about starting would be achieved.

Crossing The Potomac.

Managing to make my way to the river without attracting any particular attention, I found an old negro who had a boat, and making up a story that I fancied would answer the purpose, I struck a bargain with him to take me across to the Maryland shore for twenty-five dollars. He was eager to get the money, probably never having handled so much before in his life at any one time, but warned me that it would be a risky piece of business, for the weather was very cold, the river broad and deep, and the current strong, and there was considerable danger of my being fired at by the pickets on either bank. I told him that I was not afraid to take all the risks, and that I thought I could stand the cold. I accordingly concealed myself in his cabin until the time for commencing the crossing arrived, neither of us deeming it prudent to start before midnight.

It was after midnight before we were launched in our little craft on the black, swift-running water of the Potomac, and it was quite three hours before we reached the opposite shore. My old ferryman pulled lustily, but it was hard work for him, although the handsome fee he was to receive when his task was accomplished was a decided stimulant. He really had the best of it, however, in having some work to do, for the night air was bitter cold, and I was thinly clad. I would have been glad to have taken a turn at the oars, just for the sake of warming myself, had I believed myself possessed of the physical strength to wield them with efficiency. I was too eager to get over this unpleasant and hazardous part of my journey, however, to incur any delay by attempting to pull an oar, and bore the sharp winds that swept over the water, and at times seemed to cut me to the bones, with what equanimity I could command.

At length we reached the Maryland side of the river, to my infinite satisfaction, for I was numb with the cold, and stiff in all my limbs, from the cramped position in which I had been obliged to sit in the boat, and was heartily glad of an opportunity to tread dry land once more. Dismissing the boatman, and enjoining him not to say anything, I made my way to a farm-house which I espied a short distance from the place of landing, and about four o'clock in the morning, finding no better place to rest my weary limbs, I crept into a wheat-stack, and slept there until daylight.

I scarcely know whether to say that I enjoyed this sort of thing or not. For a thinly clad woman to find no better place for repose during a chilly night in the latter part of October, after having endured the cutting blasts for three hours while crossing the Potomac in an open boat, was certainly hard lines. It is true that, for some months, I had accustomed myself to tolerably rough living, but this was a trifle rougher than anything I had as yet experienced. As there was no one but myself to applaud my heroism, this particular episode did not, and could not, have the same attraction that some even more perilous ones had; and yet, despite the discomforts of the situation, I had a certain amount of satisfaction, and even of pleasure, in going through with it. My enjoyment — if I can designate my peculiar emotions by such a word — I can only attribute to my insatiable love for adventure; to the same overmastering desire to do difficult, dangerous, and exciting things, and to accomplish hazardous enterprises, that had induced me to assume the dress of the other sex, and to figure as a soldier on the battle-field.

When I crept into that wheat-stack, however, I was not in a mood to indulge in any philosophical reflections on the situation, or on my own motives or feelings; I was simply in search of a reasonably sheltered place where I could repose until morning; and having found one, I was not long in closing my eyes, and lapsing into temporary oblivion of the cares and trials of this wicked world.

I managed to get a nap of a couple of hours' duration, when I was awakened by the increasing light, and by the noises of the farm-yard. Adjusting my clothing as well as I could, and shaking off the straw that clung to me, I approached the house, a little dubious with regard to the kind of reception I should get, but trusting to luck to be able to obtain what I wanted. A man came out to meet me, and looked rather sullenly at me, as if he thought me a suspicious character, whom it would be well to have cautious dealings with. My appearance was such that there was certainly good cause for his distrust. The old colored woman's calico dress, woollen shawl, sun-bonnet, and shoes did not come near fitting me, while my slumbers in the wheat-stack had not tended to make me a particularly attractive object. I had no difficulty in believing that I was a perfect fright, and was amused, rather than displeased, at the rather discourteous reception I met with.

Plucking up courage, however, I advanced, and told him that I had been driven out of Virginia, and was trying to get back to my people in Tennessee. I did not give any hint of my political predilections, thinking it more prudent to find how he and his folk stood first. I then asked him if I could not go into the house and warm myself, and get some breakfast, as I was both cold and hungry, and I suppose must have looked so pitiable that he felt compelled to grant my request, if only for charity's sake. He accordingly invited me into the dining-room, and called his wife.

When the woman came, I told a long rigmarole, taking pains to show that I had some money, with which I could, if necessary, pay for what I ate and drank. My story, I saw plainly, did not take very well, and the man was evidently afraid to say much. The woman, however, soon let out on the Yankees with such fiery energy that I understood at once how matters stood, and consequently began to feel more at my ease.

I now began to embellish my story with plenty of abuse of the Yankees, and with such details of the sufferings I had endured on account of my having sided with the South, that their sympathies were at once aroused, and I felt certain that I could easily get all the assistance from them that I wished. Both of them — but the man especially — were eager to know all about the battle. I had told them that I had just come from the neighborhood of Leesburg, and I accordingly gave them an account of the affair, dilating particularly upon the magnificent manner in which the Confederates had whipped the Yankees, and prophesying that, with a little more of this kind of fighting, there would soon be an end of the war.

The woman now invited me to a nice, warm breakfast, which I enjoyed immensely, for I was desperately hungry after my night's adventure. During the meal I showed them a letter, written by myself, for use in such an emergency as this, which, of course, tended to confirm the story I told, and treated them to the style of conversation they evidently liked to hear. After breakfast was over, the woman, taking pity upon my mean attire, insisted upon dressing me in some of her own clothing. I was soon, therefore, in a somewhat more presentable condition than I had been, and, having obtained such information as they were able to give in regard to the best method of proceeding in order speedily to reach my destination, I bade them good-by, sincerely grateful for their kindness, and started for Washington, where I hoped to be able to pick up some useful bits of information, — in fact, to make what the soldiers would call, a reconnoissance in force.


Inside the Enemy's Lines. — Arrival at the Federal Capital. — Renewing an Acquaintance with an old Friend. — What I found out by a judicious System of Questioning. — The Federal Plans with regard to the Mississippi. — An Attack on New Orleans surmised. — A Tour around Washington. — Visit to the War Department, and Interview with Secretary Cameron and General Wessells. — An Introduction to the President. — Impressions of Mr. Lincoln. — I succeed in finding out a Thing or two at the Post-Office. — Sudden Departure from Washington. — Return to Leesburg. — Departure for Columbus, Kentucky.

HAVING once penetrated the lines of the enemy, there was, I knew, little to fear. As a Confederate soldier, I was figuring in a disguise which was likely, at any time, to get me into trouble of some sort, and not the least danger I saw was that of being arrested as a spy. When I first undertook to be a soldier, this was an idea that never occurred to me; but a very short experience in actual campaigning taught me that I would have to be careful to prevent the fact that I was disguised from being found out, if for no other reason than that my loyalty to the Southern cause might not be suspected. I relied, however, upon the good fighting I had done, and the other services I had rendered, which were proofs of the genuineness of my devotion, as well as the influence of my friends to get me out of any scrape into which I might fall through the discovery that I was not a man.

Here, in the enemy's country, however, I passed for exactly what I was, with nobody nearer than Memphis who knew me, both as a man and as a woman, and I consequently felt perfectly secure in moving about pretty much as I chose, having a plausible story on the end of my tongue to tell anybody who might question me. I concluded that, as it was most likely I would meet in Washington people who knew me as a woman, — indeed, I relied greatly upon finding some acquaintance through whom I could be able to obtain the kind of information I desired, — that it would be safer, and in all respects better for me to attempt no disguise, but to figure as myself, and as nobody else.

On The Road To Washington.

The kindness of my friend, the farmer's wife, in furnishing me with an outfit from her own wardrobe, enabled me to make a presentable appearance, for, although I was by no means elegantly attired, my clothing was quite good enough for me to pass as a lady; and when I left the farm-house and started en route for Washington, it was with a light heart, and with no apprehensions of difficulty, except, perhaps, in getting back safely, and of being able to resume my disguise again without being discovered. The prospect of having some trouble in these respects, however, only gave a zest to the adventure; and as I had managed to get safely within the Federal lines, I had little doubt that I would be able to elude the Confederate pickets in returning, especially as I understood how matters were managed on the Virginia side, and knew, or thought I knew, how to elude the vigilance of our boys.

Between my starting-point on the Maryland side and Washington, I saw a good many soldiers, from which I judged that the approaches to the Federal capital were strongly guarded, and that very efficient means were being taken to prevent anything like a surprise on the part of the Confederates. This was the most important information I succeeded in obtaining; and except that I was enabled to form some estimates of the force that was guarding the Maryland side of the Potomac it was of no special value, as it was well understood among the Confederates that the enemy were well prepared to resist an attack upon Washington, and were concentrating a large army in and about the city.

There were matters better worth knowing than this that I hoped to discover; and to discover them, it was necessary for me to go to Washington, and when there, to obtain facilities for conversing with people who knew what I wanted to know. I had a plan of procedure in my mind in which I had great confidence, but I really trusted more to circumstances than to any definite plan, having ample belief in my own ability to take advantage of anything that might turn up. While on the way to Washington, therefore, I judged it prudent to do as little talking as possible, although I kept my eyes and ears open for any scraps of useful knowledge that might present themselves.

Arrival In Washington.

On arriving in Washington, I went to Brown's Hotel, and having learned that an officer of the regular Federal army, with whom I was well acquainted, and who had been a warm personal friend of my late husband, was in the city, I sent him a note, asking him to call on me. He came to see me very promptly on receiving my message, and greeting me with a good deal of cordiality, expressed a desire to aid me in any manner that lay in his power. I told him that I was just from New York, and making up a plausible story to account for my being in Washington, began to question him about the progress of the war. He evidently had not the slightest idea that I was in Washington for any other purpose than what he would have considered a perfectly legitimate one, and consequently spoke without any reserve concerning a number of matters about which he would certainly have kept silent had he suspected that I had just come from the other side of the Potomac, and that my object was to pick up items of information that would be useful to the Confederacy.

He greatly lamented the defeat which the Federals had met with at Ball's Bluff, and from what he said, I judged that the affair was the great sensation of the hour, and that it had caused much discouragement, not only in the army, but among all classes of people at the North. Indeed, my friend was decidedly blue when discussing the subject, and expressed himself in very energetic terms with regard to the rebels, little thinking that he was conversing with one who had played a most active part in the very thickest of the battle. He went on to say, however, that it was expected that the defeat at Ball's Bluff would be more than compensated for very shortly. and that in Kentucky, particularly, the Federals were making great preparations for an active campaign, which, it was hoped, would do material damage to the Confederacy.

I succeeded, by judicious questioning, in obtaining a few points from him with regard to the operations of the Federal forces in the West; but although he was tolerably well posted about the general movements, he was apparently not accurately informed with regard to particulars. It is probable, too, that he might have known a good deal that he did not choose to tell, even to me, unsuspicious as he was about my real character.

Something Worth Knowing.

The information of most vital moment, however, that I succeeded in obtaining from him was, that active preparations were being made to secure possession of the upper Mississippi, and that a very large fleet was being fitted out for the purpose of blockading the mouth of the river. I instantly surmised from this that an attack on New Orleans was in contemplation, and resolved to bend my energies, during my stay in Washington, to the task of finding out all I could with regard to the actual intentions of the Federal government. I did succeed in obtaining ample confirmation of all my friend told me, and to a limited extent of my guesses. Those, however, who really knew, were very close-mouthed about what particular work was being cut out for the fleet to perform, and the desire seemed to be to leave the impression that it was to undertake blockade duty simply, and to close the mouths of the river to the ingress and egress of vessels. There were some things which I heard, however, that did not exactly conform to this theory, and by the time I left Washington, I was tolerably well convinced that a grand blow was shortly to be struck, either at Mobile or New Orleans, but most likely at the latter city. I pumped, in a quiet way, everybody I met, who was at all likely to know anything; but I was really afraid to push my inquiries too far, or to seem too inquisitive, as I did not care to be suspected as a spy and put under surveillance, especially as I learned that the government was greatly annoyed by the presence of numbers of Confederate spies in Washington, and was disposed to deal vigorously with them if they were caught.

This, it must be remembered, was simply a reconnoitring expedition, undertaken entirely on my own account, without authority from anybody; and while I, of course, wanted to find out all I could, my real object was more to make an experiment than anything else, and I did not wish to spoil my chances for future operations — for I fully expected to visit Washington again on similar service to this — by getting into trouble just then, and consequently making myself liable to suspicion in the future.

After a somewhat prolonged and very pleasant conversation with my friend, he took his departure, promising, however, to call the next day, and as I was a stranger in Washington, — having never visited the city before, — to take me to the different places of interest. This was exactly what I wanted, for I was desirous of being informed, as soon as possible, exactly where the public offices were situated, and the best means of obtaining access to them, and I counted greatly upon this obliging and very gallant gentleman unsuspectingly starting me on the right road for the accomplishment of the ends I had in view.

He made his appearance promptly at the appointed hour the next morning, and took me to see the Patent Office, the Treasury Department, and the War Department. With this latter, especially, I was, as might be supposed, particularly interested; and skilfully hinting to my escort an intense desire to know something with regard to how the operations of a great conflict, like the one in progress, were directed from headquarters, I led him up to making a proposal that he should introduce me to the Secretary of War. In a demure sort of way, I expressed myself as delighted at the honor of being able to meet so great a man, and so, in a few moments more, I was bowing, in my politest manner, to Secretary Cameron.

At The War Department.

The secretary seemed to be busy, and evidently did not have much time to give to me, and my conversation with him scarcely amounted to more than an exchange of the most ordinary civilities. I made the most of my opportunities, however, for studying his face, and forming some estimate of his character.

I cannot say that the Secretary of War impressed me very favorably. He was abundantly courteous in his manners, but there was a crafty look in his eyes, and a peculiar expression about his mouth, that I thought indicated a treacherous disposition, and that I did not like. I concluded that Mr. Cameron would be a hard man to deal with, unless dealing were made well worth his while; but in spite of his evident knowingness, and his evident confidence in his own abilities, I left him, feeling tolerably sure that I could prove myself a fair match for him in case our wits were ever brought into conflict.

I was much better pleased with General Wessells, the Commissary General of Prisoners, to whom I was also introduced, than I was with Secretary Cameron. He was very polite, indeed, and I decided immediately that I was likely to make more out of him than I was out of the secretary. On the impulse of the moment, and just for the sake of feeling my ground with him, I said, in a careless sort of way, during our conversation, that I had a brother who was a prisoner, and whom I would like to see, if it could be permitted, notwithstanding that he was on the wrong side. General Wessells very politely said that I could see him if I wished; whereupon I thanked him, and said that I would, perhaps, shortly avail myself of his kindness.

The reader may be sure that while at the War Department I saw and heard all I could, and that I took particular pains to note the movements of everybody, and to observe exactly how things were done, so that in case I should ever be obliged to call there again on any special errand, I should feel reasonably at home, and be able to go about whatever work I had in hand with as little embarrassment as possible.

A Visit To Mr. Lincoln.

From the War Department we went to the White House, where my friend said he would introduce me to the President. I really had some dread of this interview, although I experienced a great curiosity to see Mr. Lincoln, and would not have willingly missed such an opportunity as this of meeting him. I had heard a great deal about him, of course, and not much that was favorable, either as regards his character or his personal appearance, and I considered him more than any one person responsible for the war. Mr. Lincoln, however, was an agreeable disappointment to me, as I have no doubt he was to many others. He was certainly a very homely man, but he was not what I should call an ugly man, for he had a pleasant, kindly face, and a pleasantly familiar manner, that put one at ease with him immediately.

I did not have an opportunity to exchange a great many words with Mr. Lincoln, but my interview, brief as it was, induced me to believe, not only that he was not a bad man, but that he was an honest and well-meaning one, who thought that he was only doing his duty in attempting to conquer the South. He impressed me in a very different way from the Secretary of War; and I left the White House, if not with a genuine liking for him, at least with many of my prejudices dispelled, and different feelings towards him than I had when I entered.

My change of sentiment with regard to Mr. Lincoln, as may be supposed, did not influence me in the least with regard to my own opinions concerning the rights and wrongs of the contest between the North and the South, nor did I allow it to interfere in any way with the carrying out of my plans. I was simply trying to do my duty, just as I suppose he was trying to do his, as he understood it; and I was, equally with him, determined to aid, by every means in my power, the particular side I advocated.

After leaving the White House, we visited the Capitol, and listened to the debates in Congress for a while; but as the subjects which the senators and representatives happened to be discussing at the moment were of no particular interest to me, I had more pleasure in looking about the really noble building than I had in hearing them talk.

Our next visit was made to the Post Office, where my friend had some business to transact. Here I succeeded in finding out a number of things I wanted to know, and obtained some really important information, simply by listening to the conversation I heard going on around me, which is a demonstration of the necessity for people who do not want their secrets discovered by the very ones whom it is desirable should not discover them, not to do too much loud talking before total strangers. I was really annoyed at some of the conversation I heard between government officials while at the Post Office, and wondered how the Federal authorities ever expected to prevent the Confederates from finding out their plans if this kind of thing was going on all the time.

My tour around Washington, and especially my visit to the War and Post Office Departments, convinced me, not only that Washington would be a first-rate place for me to operate in, if I could obtain a definite attachment to the detective corps, but that I had the abilities to become a good detective, and would, in a very short time, be able to put the Confederate authorities in possession of information of the first value with regard to the present and prospective movements of the enemy.

Having fulfilled my errand, and accomplished all that I had expected when starting out on this trip, I left Washington as suddenly as I had entered it, giving my friend to understand that I was going to New York. I had as little trouble in getting back to Leesburg as I had in getting away from it, and put in an appearance at the house of the old colored woman, who had my uniform hid away for me, within thirteen days from the time I left it.

In Uniform Again.

Attiring myself once more in the garb of a Confederate officer, I returned the old woman her calico dress, shawl, sun-bonnet, and shoes, and in response to her eager inquiries, told her a good deal of nonsense about the Yankees being on their way to free the colored people, and made her believe that they would soon be along. Another suit of female clothing I took up to the hotel with me, and told my boy Bob, who seemed to be very curious about them, that I had bought them for my girl. Bob seemed to be delighted to see me again, as he had been apprehensive, from my long absence, that something had happened, and that I might never return. He was most anxious to know where I had been; but I put a short stop to his questionings on that topic, by giving him orders to have everything ready for an early start on a long journey in the morning. The next day we were en route for Columbus, Tennessee, where I expected to find General Polk, under whom I was now desirous of serving.

Like hundreds of others, I had gone to Virginia with the opening of summer, inspired by high hopes and great expectations. These hopes and expectations were far from being realized, although I had succeeded in gratifying some of the most ardent desires that had animated me in setting out, for I had gone through with a number of perilous adventures, such as would have certainly satisfied the ambition of most women. Notwithstanding, however, that the Confederates had won the first great victory, it became apparent, at an early day, that a single battle was not going to finish the war, and that if the South was to achieve its independence, it must go through a long and bloody conflict. My visit to Washington more than confirmed the opinion I had formed, that the Federals were in command of enormous resources in comparison with ours, and that they were settling down to a deadly determination bring all their resources to bear for the purpose of fighting the thing out to the bitter end. When I took the back track, therefore, nearly six months from the time of starting out, and when the chill winds of winter were beginning to make their severity felt by the poor soldiers, I was prepared for a long and desperate war, which would be a very different thing from the holiday affair which my Arkansas recruits, in common with many others, had expected. I was as resolute as ever in my determination to see the thing out, however, and I experienced even a certain amount of pleasure in the certainty that a prolonged struggle would afford me abundant opportunities for exciting and perilous adventures. There was not a man in the Confederacy who was more willing to fight to the last than I was, or who was willing to venture into greater peril for the sake of the cause; and, perhaps, if all the men had been as eager to find the last ditch as myself, before giving up, the war might have had a different termination.

This is something, however, about which it is scarcely worth while to speculate now. It is enough to say, that I left Virginia in a different mood from that in which I had entered it. Experience had opened my eyes to a good many things I did not clearly understand before, but although in some particulars I was disappointed, I was certainly not discouraged; and my head was as full of ideas, and of much better arranged, and more practical plans, than it was when I resolved to become a soldier. I now knew tolerably well what I could do, and the particular kind of work I could do best, and I was as enthusiastic as ever, although, perhaps, in a more sober fashion, to give the cause the benefit of my best exertions.


At Memphis again. — Ending my first Campaign. — My Friend the Captain and I exchange Notes. — I reach Columbus and report to General Leonidas Polk. — Assigned to Duty as Military Conductor. — Unavailing Blandishments of the Women. — A mean Piece of Malice. — General Lucius M. Polk tries to play a trick on me. — The Path of Duty. — The General put under Arrest. — An Explanation concerning a one-sided Joke. — I become dissatisfied, and tender my Resignation. — A Request to return to Virginia and enter the Secret Service. — Acceptance of my Resignation. — The Lull before the Storm.

A FEW days of hard travel, and I was back at my starting-point, Memphis, having made the circuit of the entire Confederacy east of the Mississippi. I was wiser by a good deal of valuable practical knowledge than I was when I set out on my Arkansas recruiting expedition, and I had passed through scenes that made it seem years, instead of a few short months, since I had made my first important attempt at practicing essentially characteristic masculine manners with the damsel in yellow calico down there at Hurlburt Station. The mere school-girl romance had been pretty well knocked out of me by the rough experiences of actual warfare. I thought very little just then about Joan of Arc, or indeed, about any of the dead and gone heroes and heroines; but my mind was considerably occupied with my own fortunes, and with those of the cause to which I had pledged myself.

My experiences — I do not allude to the mere hardships of a soldier's life — had not all been of the most pleasurable kind. I had learned much concerning some of the very weak points of human nature; that all men are not heroes who wish to be considered as such; that self-seeking was more common than patriotism; that mere courage sufficient to face the enemy in battle is not a very rare quality, and is frequently associated with meanness of spirit; that it is easier to meet the enemy bravely in battle, than it is to exercise one's brains so as to meet him most effectively; that great names are not always worthily borne by great men, and that a spirit of petty jealousy is even more prevalent in a camp than it is in a girl's boarding-school. These and a good many other things worth knowing, even if the knowledge was not of the most agreeable kind, I had picked up, as well as much information of a different sort, that qualified me to make a second start as something better than an apprentice in the art of war.

Notwithstanding many unpleasant things connected with this, my first campaign, however, I had certainly enjoyed myself immensely, after a certain fashion; for, to have taken part in two such battles as that at Bull Run and that at Ball's Bluff, and to have satisfactorily attempted a trip to Washington for the sake of finding out what they were doing in the Federal capital, were experiences that more than counterbalanced some which I could not reflect upon with equal complacency. If I returned to Memphis a disappointed woman in certain particulars, I also returned a hopeful one, for I knew better now how to go about the work I had in hand; and as it was evident that some of the hardest fighting of the war was to be done in this region, I confidently expected to have abundant opportunity to distinguish myself, both as a soldier and as a scout, and had scarcely a doubt of being employed in such services as I was best qualified to perform.

Ready To Make Another Start.

Behold me, then, back in Memphis, ready to commence a second campaign, inspired by a different kind of enthusiasm from that which moved me when I shocked my husband and the friend whom I persuaded to assist me in my enterprise, by my determination to be a soldier, but even more firmly resolved to do my full share of the fighting, and to give the Confederate cause the benefit of all my energy, wit, and courage.

The friend of whom I have spoken I still found in Memphis. He was now captain in the Confederate service, and on my meeting with him he seemed both rejoiced and surprised to see me again. We did not have much of an opportunity to talk matters over, as I was anxious to get to Columbus as soon as possible, but I contrived to find time to relate briefly some of my adventures, and he appeared to be intensely interested in my recital. It astonished him somewhat to find that what I had seen of warfare had not disgusted me with it, and that I was bent upon being a soldier so long as there was any fighting to do; but this time, however, he made no attempt to dissuade me from my purpose, being perfectly well convinced of my ability to take care of myself. Wishing each other good luck, we parted again, and I took the first boat for Columbus, where I expected to find General Leonidas Polk.

On landing at Columbus, I gave my equipage and the two horses I had bought at Memphis, in charge of Bob, with directions to keep a sharp eye on them, and went to Barnes' Hotel, to see if I could come across anybody I knew, and to make the inquiries necessary for my next movement.

Columbus was one of the liveliest places I had ever visited, or at least it seemed so that evening. There was an immense amount of bustle and confusion, and everything seemed to indicate that the campaign in this region was being pushed with considerable energy; although, as I had found out before, noise and activity in and about headquarters do not always mean remarkable energy in the field; for an obstinate enemy, bent on doing some hard fighting, takes a good deal of the nonsense out of mere cabinet generalship. Soon after supper I got my tent up, and the next morning I went in search of the general for the purpose of presenting my letter.

I Report For Duty To General Polk.

General Polk, who had been a bishop before the war broke out, received me cordially enough, although he seemed to be too busy to do much talking, and after reading my letter, dismissed me with the rather indefinite observation that he would see what he could do for me. This might mean anything or nothing; but as I had no other resource than to wait and see what conclusion he would come to with regard to me, I made my bow and retired, determined to be as patient as my impatient disposition would let me.

While waiting for the general to assign me to duty I visited the different camps, made a number of acquaintances, and picked up what information I could about the military situation in the West. Everybody was expecting hard fighting, and a desperate struggle with the Federals for the possession of the Mississippi, as it seemed to be well understood that the enemy were making great preparations for some heavy work on this river. It was thought, however, the defences were sufficiently strong to resist any attacks, and the idea that an attempt would ere a great while be made against New Orleans by way of the Gulf of Mexico, was scarcely entertained seriously by any one. I thought differently; but then I had special reasons for my own opinions, which I did not consider it necessary to communicate to all of my new-made friends, deeming it prudent to keep quiet about my visit to Washington, although ready enough to tell all I knew concerning the military situation in Virginia in exchange for what I learned from them about the condition of things in the West.

The third day after my arrival at Columbus, General Polk sent for me, and told me that he had assigned me to the detective corps. I was considerably elated at this, as I supposed that he intended to employ me in running through the lines as a spy. I had taken a great fancy to this kind of service, and felt myself especially well qualified for it. I wanted something to do that would keep me constantly employed, and especially that would require me to give my whole mind to whatever task I had in hand. There was an element of positive peril in scout duty that had a wonderful fascination for me, and that I felt would give me a keen enjoyment, such as lounging around a camp, with only the disagreeable routine of campaigning, broken by an occasional battle, could never afford.

I Am Made A Military Conductor.

I was not particularly well pleased, therefore, when I found that I was to run on the cars as military conductor. This, however, was active duty of a specific kind, and I thought that perhaps it might lead to something better, or might even offer me opportunities for distinguishing myself that I did not suspect. I took it, therefore, without complaining, resolved to do my best while on duty, and to resign the position, and go elsewhere for employment, so soon as I found the service getting too uncongenial. I accordingly went, under orders from General Polk, to Camp Beauregard, where I was directed to relieve Captain Jannett, on the Nashville road.

It was while acting in the capacity of military conductor on this road that some of the most amusing incidents of my career occurred, or, at least, incidents that were amusing enough to me at the time, although I presume that they would seem stupid enough on repetition; for many of the events of our lives that cause the heartiest laughter, depend so much on the surroundings and accessories, that it is difficult to raise even a smile at them when narrated. Nearly every day, however, little controversies would occur between myself and ladies who tried to beguile me with their smiles, little suspecting how well fortified I was against their fascinating arts; and I often laughed heartily to myself at noting the nice feminine wiles that were brought to bear to beguile me from the strict line of my duty. I am afraid that, had I been a man, some of these wiles would have been successful; but as, in spite of my garments, I was compelled to view the arts of my feminine passengers, and would-be passengers, from a feminine standpoint, I am scarcely able to doubt that the military conductorship on this particular line was run on more rigidly virtuous principles, during my term of service, than before or afterwards.

My duty was to run on the trains and examine passes, furloughs, and leaves of absence; and as I could place any one under arrest who was not travelling with the right kind of papers, or who was unprovided with papers of any kind, I was a personage of considerable importance, not only to the officers and soldiers who were going back and forth, but to the ladies, who courted me with remarkable assiduity, with a view of inducing me to grant them favors. The women folk tormented me a good deal more than the men did, for the average masculine had a wholesome dread of the rigors of military discipline, and was consequently manageable, while my own sex relied on accomplishing, by means of their fascinations, what was impossible to the men. They would make all kinds of excuses, and tell all kinds of improbable stories, to induce me to pass them; but as I put a stop to all that kind of nonsense at the very start, and made up my mind to do business on strictly military principles, I soon became anything but popular. Occasionally some of my would-be charmers, finding it impossible to make any impression on me, would abuse me roundly for refusing to grant their request. This, of course, did not have any other effect than to afford me much amusement; but it enabled me to understand why my predecessor seemed so well pleased at being relieved, although I have doubts as to whether he was as strict in enforcing the regulations as myself. Indeed, I have excellent reasons for believing that he was not at all strict.

While the women, as a rule, gave me the most trouble, there were a good many hard customers among the men, with whom it was not easy to have pleasant dealings. Merely obstreperous fellows, however, I could generally manage by letting them see that I was dead in earnest; but there were plenty of officers who were willing to violate orders, and then put the blame, in case there should be any trouble, on my shoulders, and who took it as a personal grievance that I would not let them travel without the proper papers. One malicious scoundrel, because I would not permit him to travel without a pass, trumped up a most scandalous false charge against me, to General Lucius M. Polk, who undertook to look into the matter himself.

Following The Path Of Duty.

I did not know or suspect of anything being wrong; and had I been other than resolutely bent upon doing my whole duty, at all hazards, I should probably have fallen into the trap so cunningly laid for me on this occasion. I had seen enough of military life, however, to know that the only safe course for a soldier is to obey orders, no matter who suffers; and, as my orders were to pass no one unprovided with the right kind of papers, I was resolved to carry them out to the letter, under all circumstances, without regard to consequences.

General Polk, bent upon knowing how I was making out as military conductor, and whether I was entirely trustworthy, — it having been reported to him, by the scamp referred to, that I was not, — stepped aboard the train with a ten days' leave of absence in his pocket. He probably thought that I was as good as detected in neglecting my duty, but he found out his mistake before he got through; and if he had not taken the precaution to provide himself with the proper official documents before starting, the ending of the adventure would have been anything but a merry one for him, for I should certainly have arrested him.

A Game Of Bluff.

On entering the car, I sang out, as usual, "Show your passes, gentlemen."

The general turned his head, and commenced looking out of the window rather intently, as travellers not provided with passes were very much in the habit of doing. When I reached him, in going through the car, I gently tapped his shoulder, and said, "Have you a pass?"

"No," said he. "Won't you let me go through without one?"

"No sir," I replied; "I cannot pass any one. My orders are very strict, especially with regard to officers and soldiers."

"Well," said he, "don't you think you could go back on your orders for once? Did you never favor a friend in this line?"

"Sir," I answered, rather severely, "I know no friends in connection with my duty, or general orders."

"Well, what are you going to do in my case; for I haven't got any pass," said the general.

I replied, "I will send you back to headquarters, under guard."

"But," said he, "do you know, sir, that I am General Polk?" putting on all the magnificent style he could command as he spoke.

I was considerably nettled, both by his conduct in endeavoring to persuade me to pass him in violation of orders and by his manner, and so said, rather sharply, "I don't care, sir, who you are; you can't travel on this line without a pass, even if you are Jeff Davis himself."

I was, by this time, rather angry, and determined to have no further controversy with him; so I called a soldier to take charge of him, while I finished going through the train.

The conductor, who had seen the whole performance, and who was afraid that I was getting myself into serious trouble, strongly advised me to release the general, and to pass him through as he desired. I told him, however, that I understood my duty perfectly, and that I intended to perform it to the letter, in this as in every other instance; and that if General Polk didn't know better than to undertake to travel without his papers, he would have to bear the consequences.

When we were nearing the station, General Polk beckoned to me, and said, "I have a leave of absence."

I held out my hand, and he produced it from his pocket, laughing as he did so at what he evidently considered a good joke on the military conductor. I looked at it, and returned it, simply saying, "That is all right, sir." The general held out his hand to me with a very cordial smile, and was evidently desirous of doing away with any ill feeling that the incident might have occasioned on my side. I was very badly vexed, however, that he should have attempted to play such a trick upon me, and to have doubted my honor; and I did not receive his greeting with any great amount of cordiality, being resolved, in my own mind, to be even with him some day.

On his return, General Polk explained the whole affair, and apologized very handsomely for having made such a test of my fidelity. I told him very plainly, however, that I did not like that sort of thing, and that I proposed to tender my resignation shortly, as I preferred service in the field to duty like this, where I had to be acting the part of a spy on the people all the time, while being myself subjected to the surveillance of my superiors in a manner that was far from agreeable. He attempted to discourage me from indulging in the idea of resigning; but although I did not care to argue the matter with him, my mind was fully made up to try my luck in some other line of duty.

I Am Wanted In Virginia.

I was the more anxious to get away, as I had received an urgent letter from my friend, Captain Shankey, asking me to return to Virginia and enter the secret service. This would have suited me exactly, had I been certain of getting the kind of employment I wanted by complying with Captain Shankey's request. But having just come from Virginia, where I had been for a number of months waiting in vain for a fair chance to make myself useful in such a manner that I could take a genuine pride and interest in my work, I was disposed to wait a while and see something of military operations in the West before returning. This call to go East was, however, a good pretext for throwing up a position that was becoming unpleasant, and that promised to be abundantly annoying, without offering any corresponding advantages. It was an additional string to my bow, and I could, at least, consider it while making another effort to tempt Fortune, before putting in an appearance on my old campaign ground again.

It was really, however, my intention to go back to Virginia, so soon as I could get relieved from the duty I was engaged in, and had that object in my mind when I sent in my resignation, although circumstances occurred that induced me to change my plans. My resignation was accepted without much hesitation at headquarters, and once more, after three weeks, service as a military conductor, I was free to follow my own inclinations.

These three weeks were very fruitful in experiences, and I learned a good many things which I do not particularly care to set down in black and white, but which were worth knowing. Between what I saw and heard, both in the East and the West, I was beginning to understand why things did not move briskly, and why, in spite of successes in the field, the Confederate cause, instead of making headway, was losing ground; and I was, in a measure, prepared for the disasters which shortly after began to follow thick and fast. But, before disasters did come, there were some bright days, which, in my memory, seem brighter than, perhaps, they really were, from the contrast between them and the dismal times by which they were succeeded. These I enjoyed to the utmost, and when the darkness of defeat and disaster did begin to settle down upon the doomed Confederacy, I, for one, bore up with undaunted spirit to the very last hour, and was willing to fight the thing out even when every hope of success had vanished. But these are matters that do not properly come up for discussion in this place; and what we are now concerned with are the pleasant hours of genuine fun and frolic — the last I saw for many a day — that preceded the bursting of the storm-cloud which was beginning to overshadow the fortunes of the Confederacy.


In Search of active Employment. — On the Road to Bowling Green, Kentucky. — My travelling Companions. — A Halt at Paris. — A Hog-killing and Corn-shucking Frolic. — Dancing all Night in the School-house. — A Quilting-Party. — My particular Attentions to a Lady. — The other Girls unhappy. — The Reward of Gallantry. — What General Hardee had to say to me. — The Woodsonville Fight. — On the back Track for Fort Donelson.

IT would, perhaps, have been better for me, in many respects, had I gone back to Virginia; for the probabilities were that I would, very shortly, if not immediately, have obtained the gratification of my desire for active employment in the secret service corps, and I would, consequently, not only have put in my time to much better advantage than I did, both for myself and for the Confederacy, but I would have been spared a number of particularly unpleasant occurrences which were fruitful of nothing but abundance of disgust on my part. If everything happened to us, however, just as we desired in this world, not only would we not properly appreciate heaven, when we get there, — if we ever do, — but adventure would lose much of its zest. So, the best way, after all, is, perhaps, to take things about as they come, and keeping a sharp lookout for the main chances, do what we can with them to advance the ends we have in view.

My campaign in the West, before I trod Virginia ground again, was certainly adventuresome enough to satisfy all my cravings, were adventure alone what I wanted. While, however, I plunged into adventures for the love of the thing, and cared not what perils presented themselves when I had an object to attain, I was neither reckless nor foolhardy, and wanted to have something definite in view beyond the excitement of the hour.

It was because I thought that there would be a chance for me, ere a great while, in Kentucky, to demonstrate my value either as a soldier or as a spy, — for some heavy fighting was undoubtedly about to begin, — that I determined to defer going East for the present, thinking that Fortune would favor me where I was. So I remained, and began to look about for a good place to commence operations in again. As there was evidently nothing to be had at Columbus that I wanted, I decided to try what could be done at the other end of the Confederate line of operations, — at Bowling Green.

Starting For Bowling Green.

For Bowling Green I accordingly started, my travelling companions being Colonel Bacon and Captain Billingsley. They were both genial, pleasant gentlemen, — gentlemen in every sense of the word, — and I enjoyed their society greatly during the journey.

Soldiers are generally fond of taking a hand in anything in the shape of a frolic that is going on, more especially as a uniform-coat is tolerably sure to be a passport to the favor of the ladies; consequently, when on reaching the little town of Paris, we found that there was some sport in progress in the shape of a hog-killing and corn-shucking festival, we concluded that the best thing we could do would be to stop and have a bit of fun. Well, it was genuine fun, of a downright hearty kind, and all three of us enjoyed ourselves immensely, although, I am afraid that the captain and the colonel appreciated the thing more than I did; for they were both great ladies' men, and this was such a chance as did not present itself every day for them to exert their powers of fascination upon the fair sex. I considered that I had a manly reputation to sustain, too, and I consequently resolved not to be beaten by them in the matter of gallant attentions to the girls of Paris. My previous experience in winning the regards of my sex, induced me to believe that I could, with comparative ease, become the hero of the occasion, in spite of their superiority of official rank and superior dignity of manly carriage. This was the first occasion since my assumption of male attire that I had been offered a fair chance to attempt a bit of rivalry of this kind, and I thought that it would be a first-rate notion to improve the occasion. I determined, therefore, on an active campaign for the smiles of the fair one with the captain and the colonel.

A Favorite With The Ladies.

The welcome which extended to us was all that could be desired in the way of cordiality, the girls, especially, evidently being delighted to have three dashing officers take part with them in the frolic. It was not a great while, therefore, before each of us had a young lady in charge, and were doing our best to be as agreeable as possible. I had, perhaps, rather the advantage of the colonel and the captain at the start, for I figured as one of those nice little fellows who, for some unaccountable reason, seem to be admired by many women in a greater degree than are more manly-looking men; and as I exerted myself to be as fascinating as possible, my two companions were speedily thrown in the shade, and I found myself the special object of the adoration of the Parisian damsels, very much to my amusement.

The colonel and the captain, however, had the best of me in the long run, for, as I was only playing a part, I was not able to keep up the competition with as much animation as they did; and although the first successes were mine, I was tired out, and ready to retire from the field some time before they showed any disposition to give up. I think that both of my friends perceived that I was trying to outshine them with the Paris girls; but as they did not understand the situation as I did, they were, of course, unable to see exactly where the laugh came in. Could they have but known who I really was, they would, undoubtedly, have been intensely amused, and would have enjoyed the whole performance immensely.

A Village Ball.

The serious business of hog-killing and corn-shucking was supplemented by a feast, at which the viands were chiefly winter apples and cider, and the frolic concluded with a dance in the school-house, which lasted until morning. My two friends and myself were in great demand as partners, and we nearly danced the breath out of our bodies before the affair wound up; which it finally did about daybreak, very much to my satisfaction, for I was nearly used up, having found waltzing all night much harder and more exhausting work than campaigning. The affair, however, was a right merry one, and I enjoyed myself immensely.

When day began to dawn, we took our girls home, and then sought our beds. It was not long before I was sound asleep, and so worn out with my exertions of the night, that I did not wake up until nearly supper-time.

The next evening we went to a quilting-party, I acting as escort to an old maid who had been compelled to play the part of a wall-flower nearly all the night before, and to whom I determined to pay particular attention, just for the sake of a joke, and to annoy the younger girls, who showed a marked disposition to monopolize all the masculine attentions at her expense. It was very funny to note the dismay which this choice of mine caused in the breasts of those who thought they had a better right to my courtesies. I had the satisfaction of seeing, however, that my politeness was keenly appreciated by the recipient of it, and I redoubled my exertions to make myself agreeable when I noticed the chagrin my conduct was exciting among the rivals of my lady.

As for the lady herself, she had evidently not received so much marked attention from anybody in masculine garb for a long time, and she plumed herself immensely on having made a conquest of the dashing little lieutenant, and was, doubtless, inspired by a higher appreciation of her own powers of fascination than she had ever been before. Repeated attempts were made to win me away from her side, but all in vain; the sport was too entertaining for me to give it up, and I steadfastly resisted all the allurements of the rival beauties, with not a little enjoyment of their discomfiture.

I Take The Needle In Hand.

The quilting-party was a very merry and very noisy one, although the full was not of quite so uproarious a character as that of the previous night. I offered to take a hand at the work that was going on, making a great boast of my skill with the needle. The probabilities are that I could have manipulated that little feminine instrument quite as deftly as most of those present, but did not think it expedient to show myself too handy with it. Taking my place at the frame, therefore, I set about making a figure with something of masculine awkwardness, and succeeded in putting in quite as shocking a bit of work as most men would have done under the circumstances.

While I was doing this, the girls all looked on with great eagerness, praising my work, and endeavoring to flatter me into the belief that I was doing magnificently. When I had completed the figure, I pretended that I thought it much too bad to remain, and offered to pick it out. At this, there was a chorus of indignant remonstrance from all the feminines present, and I was, consequently, compelled to let it stand, the young ladies very prettily professing to be lost in admiration, and my old maid, in particular, smiling on my humble effort with touching sweetness.

There was now an increased effort to win me from my first love; but with a firmness that would have done me infinite credit, had my coat and trowsers rightly represented my sex, I persisted in my preference, leaving it for the colonel and the captain to sustain the credit of the army for gallantry with the other feminine members of the party.

Tokens Of Esteem.

My rather excessive politeness to the lady in question was not without its ample reward; for when the time for leaving Paris came, she gave me a substantial token of her esteem and of her keen appreciation of my attentions, by putting me up a lunch, consisting of a fried chicken, biscuits, apples, and two bottles of cider, which, if she is still living, and should have the pleasure of reading this narrative, she will learn were keenly enjoyed by my two friends and myself as we journeyed towards Bowling Green.

So ended the episode of the Paris frolic. It was good fun while it lasted, and it becomes a particularly bright spot in my memory in contrast with the dismal and harrowing scenes by which it was so soon to be succeeded. The Paris girls furnished the colonel, the captain, and myself topics of conversation during a good part of the balance of our journey, and my companions had considerable fun at my expense, on account of my peculiar manner of conducting myself towards the ladies of that village. I took their raillery in good part, of course, smiling to myself at certain amusing incidents, the full significance of which it was impossible for them to understand. Soon, however, all three of us had enough of other things to think of to induce us to dismiss Paris, and the delights of hog-killing, corn-shucking, and quilting-frolics from our minds, and to bend our thoughts to the consideration of matters of more serious interest.

On arrival at General Hardee's headquarters, I went to him, and showing him my commission, stated that I wanted to go into active service as a scout. He said that he thought there would soon be a chance for me; which was so nearly like the answers I had received from a number of other commanders, that I did not feel especially encouraged by it. It really meant about as much as similar remarks made by others, for nothing came of it, and I was compelled to drift about, looking out myself for something to do to kill time while waiting in hope that the current of events would shape themselves in a manner favorable to my idea.

At this period of the war I could have been employed to very great advantage as a spy, to go to and fro through the lines; and there is no doubt that I could, with comparative ease, have obtained information of the first value to the Confederate commanders. The Federals, as we all knew, were making immense preparations for an important forward movement; and had I been employed as I wanted to be, I could, most likely, have succeeded in saving the Confederates from waiting for defeat to teach them what they ought to have known while making their preparations to meet the enemy.

Perhaps if General Hardee, and others, had known exactly who and what I was, and what were my particular talents in the line of duty I desired to follow, they would have shown a greater disposition to afford me opportunities to signalize myself. They did see, however, that I was ready, willing, and, apparently, able to work; and I scarcely think that they were blameless in not, at least, giving me a fair trial.

The Fight At Woodsonville.

I was bent, however, notwithstanding the disappointment under which I labored, on showing my devotion to the cause of Southern independence; and, in accordance with my general plan of not letting slip an opportunity of being on hand when there was any real, serious work to be done, I took part in the fight at Woodsonville, on Green River, and faced the enemy as valiantly as anybody. In this fight, Colonel Terry, a brave Texan officer, whom I greatly admired, was among the slain.

The affair at Woodsonville was something of a diversion from the monotony of camp life, but it did not satisfy my ambition or my intense desire for active service; and coming to the conclusion that lounging about Bowling Green and vicinity was much too slim a business for me, I decided to shift my quarters to where there was a somewhat better prospect of hard fighting to be done. It was by this time evident that the Federals intended making a determined attempt to capture Forts Henry and Donelson, on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, and as I felt confident that our people would make a brave and desperate resistance, I resolved to go and take a hand in the approaching battle, in the hope that something to my advantage would result from it. If a desire to witness some hard fighting was my chief object in this movement, it was more than gratified, for the horrors of the siege of Donelson far surpassed anything I had yet witnessed, and by the time it was over, I certainly got enough of the excitement of battle to satisfy me for some time to come. Happily for ourselves, we cannot foresee the future, and in blissful ignorance of the agonizing scenes which I would soon be called upon to witness, I started for Fort Donelson with a comparatively light heart, bent only on so demonstrating my devotion to the cause as would compel the recognition of my superiors.


The Spirit of Partisanship. — My Opinions with Regard to the Invincibility of the Southern Soldiers. — Unprepared to sustain the Humiliation of Defeat. — The Beginning of the End. — At Fort Donelson. — The Federal Attack expected. — Preparations for the Defence. — The Garrison confident of their Ability to hold the Fort. — The Difference between Summer and Winter Campaigning. — Enthusiasm supplanted by Hope and Determination. — My Boy Bob and I go to Work in the Trenches. — Too much of a good Thing. — Dirt-Digging not exactly in my Line — The Federals make their Appearance. — The Opening of the Battle. — On picket Duty in the Trenches at Night. — Storm of Snow and Sleet. — The bitter Cold. — Cries and Groans of the Wounded. — My Clothing stiff with Ice. — I find myself giving Way, but manage to endure until the Relief comes. — Terrible Suffering. — Singular Ideas. — A four Days' Battle. — The Confederate Successes on the first and second Days. — The Gunboats driven off. — Desperate Fighting on the third Day. — A breathing Spell. — The Confederates finally driven back into the Fort. — It is resolved to surrender. — Generals Floyd and Pillow make their Escape. — General Buckner surrenders to General Grant. — Terrible Scenes after the Battle is over. — The Ground strewn for Miles with Dead and Dying. — Wounded Men crushed by the artillery Wagons. — The Houses of the Town of Dover filled with Wounded. — My Depression of Spirits on Account of the terrible Scenes I had witnessed.

I AM a partisan, by instinct and by education. It is an impossibility for me to limit or divide my affections and predilections; and in choosing a side in a great contest like that which was waged between the South and the North, I must do so with my whole heart and soul. Others, abler than myself, may have done more to promote the cause of Southern independence, and may have labored with greater efficiency; but no man or woman in the whole Confederacy was inspired by a more ardent devotion to the cause than myself, or had greater faith in its ultimate success, no matter what odds it might be compelled to contend against. I trusted to my impulses, perhaps, more than to my reason; but every strong partisan must do this, in a greater or less degree, and if I miscalculated, or was ignorant of the real power of the North, and of the resources which the Federal government was able to command, I had plenty of companions in my error, for there were thousands who possessed far more perfect means of information than myself, who were quite as eager to enter upon a war without calculating the cost or estimating the consequences.

The fact was, however, that I did not think of calculating with regard to the probable result of the contest. I had the most exalted opinion of the invincibility of our Southern soldiers, and of the skill of our generals, and I was unable to think of them otherwise than as about to enter upon a career of victory.

Up to the time of which I am now writing, nearly everything had contributed to the encouragement of my original notions. In both of the great battles in which I had participated the Confederates had been brilliantly successful; and while the permanent results had scarcely been equal to my hopes and expectations, my opinion with regard to Southern invincibility had scarcely received a serious check. My nature and temperament are such, that just as when, amid the excitement of a battle, each combatant in the opposing army becomes for the moment a personal enemy, so in the hour of defeat I am compelled to feel a humiliation as keen as if it was my own alone. Such a humiliation I was very shortly to endure; but, in hurrying towards Fort Donelson, I little knew that I was about to become the spectator of a defeat so crushing and disastrous as for a time to annihilate in my bosom all hope, and which gave a death-blow to the impetuous but untutored enthusiasm with which I had started out.

I had tasted the sweets of victory, and had felt all the exultation which fills the breast of the soldier after a hard-fought battle in seeing the enemy flee before him, and now I was called upon to taste the bitterness of defeat, and of defeat attended with unspeakable horrors. The capture of Fort Donelson was the beginning of the end, although I hardly so understood it at the time; but soon it was followed by other disasters scarcely less crushing, and the enthusiasm of despair, rather than of hope, was the inspiration not only of myself, but of the whole Southern people during the last three years of the contest.

An Estimate Of The Position.

When I reached Fort Donelson, General Pillow was in command, and preparations for meeting the enemy were being pushed forward with all possible energy. Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, about fifteen miles from Fort Donelson, had been captured by the Federals, and Donelson, every one knew, would be the next object of attack, both by land and water. The fortifications were very strong, although, being built for the purpose of commanding the river, they were weaker on the land than on the water side, and the great duty of the hour was the construction of earthworks for the protection of the exposed side. The labor required for the execution of this task was immense, but every one went at it with a good will, and with a feeling of confidence in our ability to give the Federals the repulse that the garrison of Fort Henry had failed to do, although we were certain that they were about to assail us with a very large force, and that they considered the capture of the position a matter of such vital importance that they would spare no effort to accomplish it. While, however, there was the greatest belief in the impregnability of the position, and in the ability of our garrison, composed of Southern soldiers of tried courage and gallantry, to hold it, even against heavy odds, all felt that a desperate and bloody conflict was about to begin, and nerved themselves for the dreadful task before them.

The Teachings Of Experience.

I entered upon this conflict with far different emotions from those which animated me when about to take part in the battle of Bull Run. Then I was inspired by all the enthusiasm of ignorance, and was, perhaps, animated as much by an intense desire to see what a great battle was like, as by any other feeling. I could not get rid of the idea that the rout of the enemy would mean their annihilation, and the triumphant accomplishment of all the ends for which we had taken up arms. I might have known better than this, if I had thought; but I did not think. I only felt, just like thousands of others. The battle of Bull Run, too, was fought in the middle of summer, in beautiful, clear, July weather; and although fighting the enemy through that long, sultry day, with the blazing sun overhead, was no holiday task, and it taxed the energies of officers and men to the utmost to achieve the defeat of the enemy, it was a very different thing from defending a series of earthworks from a combined attack, by land and water, in the dead of winter.

Premonitions Of Defeat.

I had seen much of war and its horrors since the battle of Bull Run, and better comprehended now what serious work it was, and what enormous labor would have to be performed, if the hopes and expectations of the summer were to be realized. In fact, I appreciated the situation from the standpoint of a veteran, rather than from that of the raw recruit. Of enthusiasm, or, at least, such enthusiasm as that by which I was originally inspired, I had little or nothing; but I had hope and determination, and was as much bent upon doing my very best as I was the day I was first under fire. There was something most depressing, however, in the idea of figuring in a desperate conflict in midwinter. The whole proceeding seemed unseasonable, and this peculiar feeling, combined with a singular sense of discomfort and constraint at being shut in fortifications from which there was next to no escape, except by driving off the enemy, or surrendering to him, had a powerful effect in dampening my ardor.

At the first intimation of these unpleasant feelings coming over me, however, I shook them off with all the resolution I could command, and determined to show myself in every way worthy of the garments I wore, by doing a full man's work, in preparing for the expected attack. There was a great deal that had to be done, and done quickly, in the way of completing the intrenchments, and I made up my mind to lend a hand, as I felt sure that volunteers would be welcome when hard labor like this was to be performed, even if they were not regarded with the best favor by those in authority at other times.

At Work In The Trenches.

My boy Bob and I, therefore, went into the trenches, and commenced to shovel dirt with all possible energy and good will. In the execution of such a task as this, Bob soon proved himself to be a much better man than I was, and he easily threw two shovelfuls to my one, and was apparently in a condition to keep on indefinitely, when I, finding that I had miscalculated my strength, was compelled to desist. There are some things which men can do better than women, and digging intrenchments in the frozen ground is one of them. I was not a very great while in discovering this most important fact, and concluding that I had better try and make myself useful in some other manner, I repaired, with aching back and blistered hands, to the headquarters of General Floyd, who had just arrived with his Virginians, where I lounged about, waiting for events so to shape themselves that I would be able to show my fighting qualities to advantage, for nature had evidently intended me for a warrior rather than for a dirt-digger.

Commencement Of The Siege.

The Federals made their appearance on the afternoon of Wednesday the 12th, and they could be seen at various points through the woods making preparations for commencing their attack by stationing themselves in advantageous positions for the environment of the fort on its land side, while the gunboats were to give us the benefit of their heavy ordnance from the river. These latter we felt very sure of being able to manage with comparative ease, as, indeed, we succeeded in doing; for the fort, as I have before stated, was constructed chiefly with a view to the resistance of an attack upon this side, and our heaviest guns were mounted so as to command the river. The navy, therefore, would have to do some remarkably efficient service if it expected to make any marked impression on us, and the chief anxiety of our officers and men was on account of the comparative weakness of the land defences. But even these, such was the confidence all had in the proverbial Southern valor, it was believed we would be able to hold successfully.

The battle opened on Thursday, February 13, 1862, and, as if to increase the discomforts and sufferings of the combatants, the weather, which had been quite moderate and pleasant, suddenly became intensely cold. On Thursday night, about eight o'clock, a tremendous storm of snow and sleet came on, to the full fury of which I was exposed; for a young officer, who wanted to take French leave for the night, had taken advantage of my eagerness for active service, and made an arrangement for me to go on picket duty for him in the trenches. I was less fitted to stand this kind of exposure than many of my comrades, for, independently of my sex, I was born and brought up in a semi-tropical climate, and although inured to hardships during the months I had been figuring as a soldier, I was but indifferently qualified to endure the sufferings of this terrible night.

On Picket Duty At Night.

When entering upon a soldier's career, however, I was animated by a stern resolve not to shirk any duty I might be called on to undertake, no matter how arduous or uncongenial it might be; and although I was, on this occasion, really intruding myself where I did not belong, my pride would not have permitted me to back down, even had I fully appreciated, before starting for the trenches, what I would have to go through with before I could return to shelter again. As for the person whose duty I had undertaken to perform, he undoubtedly thought himself particularly lucky in getting rid of such an ugly job, and I fancy that he considered me a fool for the eagerness I displayed to get into a scrape for his benefit. I hope he managed to have a good time during the long hours of that dreadful night, for in spite of what I suffered I bore him no hard feelings.

If repentance for my rashness in resolving to play a soldier's part in the war was ever to overcome me, however, now was the time; and I confess that, as the sleet stung my face, and the biting winds cut me to the bones, I wished myself well out of it, and longed for the siege to be over in some shape, even if relief came only through defeat. The idea of defeat, however, was too intolerable to be thought of, and I banished it from my mind whenever it occurred to me, and argued with myself that I was no better than the thousands of brave men around, who were suffering from these wintry blasts as much as I.

A Night Of Horror.

The agonized cries of the wounded, and their piteous calls for water, really affected me more than my own discomfort; and had it not been for the heart-rending sounds that greeted my ear every moment, I could, perhaps, have succeeded better than I did in bearing up under the horrors of the night with some degree of equanimity. Every now and then a shriek would be uttered that would strike terror to my soul, and make my blood run cold, as the fiercest fighting I had ever seen had not been able to do. I could face the cannon better than I could this bitter weather, and I could suffer myself better than I could bear to hear the cries and groans of these wounded men, lying out on the frozen ground, exposed to the beatings of this pitiless storm. Several times I felt as if I could stand it no longer, and was tempted to give the whole thing up, and lie down upon the ground and die; but, although my clothing was perfectly stiff with ice, and I ached in every limb from the cold, I succeeded in rallying myself whenever I found these fits of despondency coming over me, and stood my ground to the last.

I understood, from this brief but sufficient experience, what must have been the sufferings of the army of Napoleon, on the retreat from Moscow; and the story of that retreat, which had hitherto seemed to me more like a romance than a narrative of actual occurrences, was now presented to my mind as a terrible reality. I even tried to find some consolation in thinking that, after all, it was only for a few hours that I would be called upon to endure, while the soldiers in that most disastrous retreat were for weeks exposed to all the severities of an almost Arctic winter, in their long march over desert plains, but was forced to the conclusion that reflecting on the woes of others is but an indifferent alleviation of our own.

Fantastic Ideas.

In such a situation as the one I am describing, the most singular ideas run through one's mind. The minutes are lengthened out into hours, and the hours into days, until the reckoning of time is lost; and as the past seems to fade away into a remoteness that makes the painlessness of yesterday appear like the fragment of a happy dream, so the future, when it will all be over, and the commonplace routine of uneventful every-day life will commence again, is as far off as a child's imagination pictures heaven to be. We actually catch ourselves wondering whether it has always been so, and whether it will always be so until we die, and when we die, whether eternity will have anything better to offer. Little incidents in our past lives, of no possible moment, and which had perhaps never been thought of from the date of their occurrence, present themselves suddenly, with astonishing vividness, to the memory. The mental and the physical beings seem to be engaged in a contest for the mastery, and as the numbness of the half-frozen limbs increases, the brain shapes more and more fantastic ideas, and if the terrible contest is too long protracted, and the strain upon the endurance is not removed, fantasy develops into madness, and madness swiftly results in death.

More than once I felt myself giving way; more than once I detected my mind wandering off strangely from the surroundings of the moment; but, by a resolute effort of will, and by an indomitable determination not to succumb, I succeeded in sustaining myself until my relief came, and I was able to seek shelter and the repose I so sorely needed.

The Progress Of The Battle.

The battle lasted four days and nights, and, although the Confederates fought with desperate valor, they were at length compelled to yield, and the humiliation of defeat was added to the unspeakable sufferings which the conduct of a fierce and prolonged contest like this, in the middle of a winter of unparalleled severity, entailed upon them. Fortune, which had favored the side of the Confederacy in the battles in which I had heretofore been engaged, was against us now, however, and in spite of the fierce resistance which the garrison made to the Federal attacks, the result was, that nothing was left for us to do but surrender.

The results of the first day's fighting were favorable to us, the Federals being repulsed at all points, and we all felt tolerably sure that we would be able either to drive them off, or to cut our way through their lines.

The Gunboats Brought Into Action.

On Friday, the forces on the land side, evidently discouraged by their ill luck of the day before, did not attempt any very serious demonstrations. It was now the turn of the gunboats to try what they could do towards driving us out of the fort. The navy, however, did not have any better success than the army. In the afternoon the boats advanced up the river, and commenced to shell our works, but they inflicted on us no particular damage, while our fire told on them with terrible effect. The contest between the batteries and the gunboats continued for about an hour and a half, at the end of which time we had the satisfaction of seeing them drift down the river, evidently very badly cut up. So the end of the second day's battle was in favor of the Confederates.

In the mean time, however, the besieging army was receiving large re-enforcements, and was apparently preparing to renew the attack on the land side with increased vigor.

The Confederate Sortie.

With characteristic energy, the Confederate commanders resolved not to wait to be attacked, but to sally from the fort, and strike the enemy a deadly blow. The sortie was gallantly made, and our soldiers fell upon their antagonists with a fury that made them recoil. The contest was conducted with terrible vigor on both sides for some hours, and our men succeeded in driving back the Federals, with great loss. They, however, were unable to follow up their advantage, and there came a lull in the storm of battle, during which both armies seemed to be taking breath, preparatory to renewing the fight with greater ferocity than ever.

At length the Federals rallied, and stormed the intrenchments with a much larger force than before, and, after a severe struggle, the Confederates were driven back into the fort, leaving hundreds of the dead and wounded lying on the frozen ground. By this time our ranks had been so thinned out, that every one felt it would be madness to continue the contest longer against the greatly superior force of the enemy. We had fought, and fought gallantly, doing all that soldiers could do to maintain ourselves; but, in spite of the desperate valor that the garrison had displayed, defeat stared us in the face, and it would have been useless bloodshed to have attempted a prolongation of the battle. The Federals, for this once, at least, were masters of the field, and all we cared longer to do was to get as many of our men as possible away before the surrender took place, and to retrieve the disaster by meeting the enemy under more auspicious circumstances another time.

Departure Of Floyd And Pillow.

I felt the most profound pity for General Floyd, when he found that further resistance was useless, and that the fort must be given up to the enemy. He actually shed tears, and both he and General Pillow seemed borne down by the keenest humiliation, when, after turning over the command to General Buckner, they embarked their men hurriedly on the boats at night, and effected their escape. Every one knew that they could do no good by remaining, and that, by so doing, they would only give so many more prisoners to the exultant victors; but many of those who were left behind seemed to consider their departure as cowardly, and as an attempt to shirk danger, and greeted them with hisses and groans as they embarked. I was indignant at this, for I knew that they had done all that could have been expected of them, and that for them to participate in the surrender would only increase the extent of the disaster, and add to the importance of the Federal victory.

This was undoubtedly one of the most terrible battles of the whole war, the fact of its having been fought in the midst of an unusually severe winter serving to increase its horrors tenfold. Towards the last, the contest between the besiegers and besieged was hand to hand, both sides contending for the mastery with a ferocity which I cannot pretend to command words to describe. Again and again were the Federals repulsed from the works, and, at some points, they were so much cut up that it seemed impossible for them to rally again. Re-enforcements of fresh troops, however, came continually to the relief of the defeated assailants, while each hour thinned out the garrison terribly. After every repulse, the enemy advanced to the attack with increased force, or made a furious assault in a new place, and by the time General Buckner surrendered the fort to General Grant, the vicinity of the earthworks, for miles around, presented a sickening spectacle of devastation and human suffering.

After The Battle.

In every direction the ground was trampled by thousands of feet, was cut up by the artillery carriages, and was strewn with dead horses and men, and with all kinds of munitions of war. In many of the trenches, especially where the fiercest fighting had taken place, the bodies were heaped together, six or seven feet high, and the faces of the corpses, distorted with the agonies of their death struggles, were hideous to look at. Those who fell, and died where they were shot, were comparatively fortunate, for their sufferings were soon ended. It was sickening, however, to think of the many poor fellows who, after fighting bravely, and falling helpless from their wounds, had their lives crushed out, and their forms mangled beyond recognition, by the furiously driven artillery.

All the houses in the town of Dover were filled with the wounded, and the air was fairly alive with the groans. Dr. Moore, and other surgeons, did their best to alleviate the sufferings of the victims of cruel war; but the best they could do was but little. Some of the men, with their limbs fearfully mangled, pleaded most piteously not to have them amputated, many of them stating that they preferred death to this new torture. Others could do no more than groan, or utter such cries as "God help me;" while not a few besought the surgeons to kill them, and end their misery. It was no wonder Dr. Moore said that it was no place for women, and that it was as much as the strong nerves of a man could do to bear up under such an accumulation of horrors.

More accustomed to such scenes than most women, and better able to face the terrible sights by which I was surrounded, I endeavored, notwithstanding I was worn out, bodily and mentally, and was overwhelmed in spirit by the fearful disaster which had overtaken the Confederate arms, to aid, as much as lay in my power, to make the wounded men as comfortable as possible, until I saw that, if I intended to escape, I must do so at once.

Although the horrors of a great battle like this affected me greatly at the time of their occurrence, still the excitement enabled me to bear up, and it was not until after a battle was over, and I was compelled to reflect, that I fully realized what a fearful thing this human slaughtering was. Immediately after the defeat at Fort Donelson, especially, I was greatly depressed in spirit, and it was long before I could shake off the disposition to shudder, and the feeling of intense melancholy, that overcame me to such an extent, that I almost resolved to give up the whole business, and to never allow myself to be put in the way of witnessing anything of the kind again.

In course of time, however, this feeling wore off, and as, with restored health, — for I was quite sick from the exposures, fatigues, and horrors of the battle, — my spirits regained their elasticity, my restless disposition would not let me remain inactive while so many exciting scenes were being enacted around me, and while the fate of the Confederacy was trembling in the balance. If I did not forget the horrors of Fort Donelson, they erelong ceased to oppress me, and I was as ready as ever to do my share of any fighting that was going on. It was never my disposition to brood over misfortunes, and, although this one affected me deeply for a season, I succeeded in overcoming its effects, and, after a little rest and recuperation, was ready to resume my life of adventure as a soldier of fortune.


Taking a Rest at Nashville. — Again on the March. — I join General A. S. Johnston's Army. — Wounded in a Skirmish. — Am afraid of having my Sex discovered, and leave suddenly for New Orleans. — In New Orleans I am suspected of being a Spy, and am arrested. — The Officer who makes the Arrest in Doubt. — The Provost Marshal orders my Release. — I am again arrested by the Civil Authorities on Suspicion of being a Woman. — No Way out of the Scrape but to reveal my Identity. — Private Interview with Mayor Monroe. — The Mayor fines and imprisons me. — I enlist as a private Soldier. — On arriving at Fort Pillow, obtain a Transfer to the Army of East Tennessee.

FROM Fort Donelson I went, with what speed I could, to Nashville, and took rooms at the St. Cloud Hotel. I was utterly used up from fatigue, exposure, anxiety, and bitter disappointment; and both I and my negro boy Bob — who had been taken quite sick during the battle — needed an opportunity to thoroughly rest ourselves. It was an immense relief to reach a good hotel, where I could have a shelter over my head, a comfortable bed, and wholesome food; but such was the restlessness of my disposition, and the agitation of my mind, on account of the terrible scenes through which I had just passed, that I could not keep quiet; and scarcely had I recovered a little from my fatigue, than I was eager to be in motion again.

The Excitement In Nashville.

Nashville was in an intense state of excitement over the unexpected result of the attack upon Fort Donelson; and, stimulated, perhaps, as much by the turmoil around me, and by the apprehensions that were felt by every one, lest the Federals should follow up their success by marching on the city, my old eagerness to be an active participant in the contest which was being waged, returned with all its former force, and I was soon as anxious as ever to do a soldier's full duty. If the Federals were to be effectively resisted, and the defeat of Donelson retrieved, there was but one course for the friends of the Confederacy, whether soldiers or citizens, to pursue, and strenuous exertion was the duty which the exigencies of the situation enforced upon every one. I felt that this was not the time for me to shirk the responsibilities I had voluntarily assumed, for if ever my services were needed, they were needed now. After a very brief repose at the St. Cloud, therefore, I was ready to brave the hardships and dangers of the battle-field again.

Sending my negro boy to Grand Junction in charge of a friend, I went to the headquarters of General Albert Sydney Johnston, and upon asking for employment, was put in the detective corps. There was plenty of work for everybody to do, for the fall of Fort Donelson had rendered it necessary that the whole Southern army should fall back for the purpose of taking up a new line, and I had no reason to complain of a lack of activity, although the activity of a retreat was not exactly what I most admired. I was not very long in getting my fighting blood up again; but, unfortunately, my combative propensities, this time, had a somewhat serious result, which compelled me to abandon the line of duty I had chosen, and to disappear from the sight of my new associates.


While participating in a skirmish with the enemy, who were harassing us whenever an opportunity offered, I was wounded in the foot. This lamed me, and compelled me to have the hurt dressed by the surgeon, at which I was not a little alarmed, for I knew that I was now in imminent danger of having my sex discovered. The wound was not a very severe one, and I probably magnified its importance; but the circumstances were such that it could scarcely have a fair chance to heal speedily if I remained in the field, and dreading the prospect of being for a long period under the care of the surgeon, who would be much more likely to suspect me than any one else, I resolved that the only course for me to pursue was to abandon the army before I got into trouble.

I therefore availed myself of the earliest possible opportunity to take French leave, and quietly slipped away to Grand Junction, where I remained for three days, and then, in company with my boy Bob, repaired to Jackson, Mississippi. At Jackson I hired Bob out, as I wanted to get rid of him for a while, having in my mind certain plans, in the execution of which it would have been an incumbrance for him to have been with me. Bob being disposed of in a satisfactory manner, I hastened, without further delay, to New Orleans, and took up my quarters at the Brooks House.

By abandoning the army, however, and going to New Orleans at this particular juncture, I was, to use a homely phrase, jumping out of the frying-pan into the fire. Rigid as was army discipline, and strict as were the precautions taken to prevent treachery and the surveillance of spies, I had managed to sustain myself in the army as an independent without difficulty, and was on the best possible terms with everybody. In New Orleans, on the other hand, I found the spirit of suspicion rampant. Confidence in the ability of the city to defend itself against the impending Federal attack was expressed on all sides, but the fact that an attempt was undoubtedly to be made, before a great while, for its reduction, and the uncertainty with regard to the exact nature of the blow, or the exact direction from which it would fall, caused an uneasiness that could not be disguised. The Federals were known to be mustering an enormous fleet at the mouth of the river, and a large army on the Sound, and my surmises of months before, based upon what I had heard in Washington, were, apparently, about to be realized.

New Orleans Apprehensive Of An Attack.

While the city was in this condition of suspense, each man looked more or less askance at his neighbor, and the fear of Federal spies was a feeling that preponderated over all others in the hearts of many. People who, in war time, don't do any fighting, are, according to my experience, as bellicose in their language as they are cowardly in the face of real danger, making up in suspiciousness and vindictiveness what they lack in valor. It was not to be wondered at, therefore, that I speedily got myself into serious trouble, to escape the consequences of which I was compelled to resort to some desperate shifts.

I did not at all appreciate the situation when I went to New Orleans. When I entered Washington it was as a spy, and I consequently had all my wits about me; but in New Orleans I thought I was among my friends, and very imprudently neglected ordinary precautions for avoiding difficulties.

During the eight or nine months I had been wearing male attire, I had, as the reader is aware, seen a great deal of very hard service. My clothing was well worn, and my apparatus for disguising my form was badly out of order; and the result was, that I scarcely presented as creditable a manly appearance as I did upon the occasion of my last visit to New Orleans. I had, too, by this time become so much accustomed to male attire that I ceased to bear in my mind, constantly, the absolute necessity for preserving certain appearances, and had grown careless about a number of little matters that, when attended to properly, aided materially in maintaining my incognito. In addition to all this, I was in very low spirits, if not absolutely sick, when I reached New Orleans, and was not in a mood to play my part in the best manner.

My Arrest As A Spy.

I had not been in the city very long before it was noted by prying people that there was some mystery about me, and for any one to have a mystery just then, was equivalent to falling under the ban of both military and civic authorities. I, of course, imagining no evil, was not prepared for a demonstration against me, and was accordingly thunderstruck when I was arrested on the charge of being a spy, and taken before the provost marshal.

Terror, dismay, and indignation struggled for mastery with me when this outrage, as I considered it, was perpetrated. My great secret, I feared, was now on the point of being discovered; and if it was discovered, the probabilities were that I would be unable any longer to continue the career I had marked out for myself. I was enraged at the idea of being charged with acting as a spy, and of having my patriotism doubted after all I had done to promote the cause of Southern independence; and at the same time I appreciated the difficulties and dangers of the situation, and puzzled my brain to devise a plan for getting myself out of a very ugly scrape. Reviewing the matter very rapidly in my own mind, I determined that the best, if not the only plan, was to present a bold front, and to challenge my accusers to prove anything against me, reserving a revelation of my identity as a last alternative.

I entered a vigorous protest against the whole proceeding to the officer who made the arrest, and I could see, from his hesitating and indecisive manner, that he was in possession of no definite charge against me, and was inclined to be dubious about the propriety or legality of his action. This encouraged me, and induced me to believe that I might be able to brave the thing through; but I resolved, if I did get clear, to cut my visit to New Orleans as short as possible. My protest, however, was of no avail, so far as procuring an instantaneous release was concerned, for the officer insisted upon my accompanying him to the office of the provost marshal.

A Delicate Situation.

While on my way to the provost marshal's, my conductor questioned me closely, but I gave him such answers as evidently increased his uneasy feelings, and I soon saw that he was beginning to seriously doubt whether he was doing exactly the correct thing in making the arrest. Finally, he proposed to release me; but to this I objected in very decided terms, and insisted on knowing exactly what accusations there were against me.

To the office of the provost marshal we accordingly went, and, after a very few questions, that official decided, with gratifying promptness, that there was no justification for holding me, and ordered my discharge from custody.

This appeared to astonish the individual who had made the arrest very much, and it was evident that he was repenting of his rashness, and was anxious to get out of an unpleasant predicament the best way he could.

I enjoyed his discomfiture immensely, and, turning to him with all the dignity I could command, I demanded his name. This, with very evident reluctance, he at length gave me, and making him a stiff bow, I said, in a quiet but threatening manner, "I will see you again about this matter, sir," as I walked out of the office.

My Sex Suspected.

In spite of my bravado, however, this incident gave me a great deal of uneasiness, for I saw that I was in a dangerous predicament, and was liable at any moment to get into further trouble. I was not much surprised, therefore, although greatly disgusted, when the next evening I was again arrested, this time on suspicion of being a woman. Now what I had so long dreaded was come to pass, and there was nothing to do but to get out of the difficulties which environed me the best way I could.

Being taken before Mayor Monroe, I was interrogated by that individual in a style that I did not at all admire. It seemed to me that he was assuming a certain lordliness of manner that did not sit gracefully upon him, and that was entirely uncalled for by the exigencies of the occasion.

My replies to the queries of the mayor were not satisfactory to him, for his very imperious and pompous bearing made me angry, and rather put me on my mettle. He consequently chose to assume that I was a woman, and ordered me to change my apparel.

I, however, was resolved not to give up without a severe contest, having made up my mind, on assuming male attire, not to acknowledge my sex except in the last extremity, and for the sake of securing ends that could not otherwise be accomplished. So, turning to Mr. Monroe, I said, with a dignified severity quite equal to his own, "Sir, prove that I am a woman; it will be quite time, when you do that, for you to give me an order to change my dress."

The Mayor Puzzled.

This rather disconcerted the mayor and his satellites; and, watching their countenances closely, I saw that they were nonplussed, and were doubtful how to proceed, being uncertain whether or not they had made a mistake. My hopes of a prompt discharge, however, were doomed to disappointment, for the mayor, after a brief consultation, decided to remand me to the calaboose, until it should be settled to his satisfaction who I was, and whether I was a man or a woman. To the calaboose I accordingly went, horrified at being subjected to such an indignity, and with anything but pleasant or friendly feelings towards the mayor, and the meddlesome, prying busybodies who had been instrumental in getting me into this trouble.

The circumstances of the case having, in the mean time, become generally known, I was visited the next morning by a local reporter, who showed a very eager desire to find out all he could about me, for the purpose of writing a sensational article for the paper with which he was connected. As may be imagined, this sort of thing did not increase my amiability, or tend to make me bear my misfortunes in a philosophical spirit. I gave Mr. Reporter very little satisfaction, shaping my conversation with him with a view of inducing him to believe that a great mistake had been committed, and that I was the victim of a very unjust persecution.

The reporter was troublesome, but I was not alarmed at him, as I was at my next visitor, Dr. Root, of the Charity Hospital. This gentleman, I knew, would be much more difficult to deal with; and before he got through with questioning me, I was convinced, from his manner, that his mind was made up with regard to me. I felt sure that the easiest and best method, indeed, the only method I could safely adopt, was to confess frankly to the mayor that I was really a woman, trusting that this fact being settled in a manner satisfying to his magisterial dignity, he would have no further pretext for keeping me in confinement, and would order my release.

I therefore wrote a note to his honor, requesting a private interview. This request he granted, and without any more equivocation I told him who I was, and gave him what I hoped would be satisfactory reasons for assuming the garb I wore. My confession having been made, I next endeavored to treat with the mayor for an immediate release, promising to leave the city so soon as liberated, my idea being to return to military life forthwith, as I had had quite enough of New Orleans for the present.

A Fine And Imprisonment.

Mr. Monroe, however, having gotten me in his clutches, was not disposed to let me go so easily, and he said that he would be compelled to fine me ten dollars, and to sentence me to ten days' imprisonment — a decision that did not increase my good opinion of him, for absolutely nothing had been brought up against my character or my conduct, and I could not, and do not now, see the justice or propriety of such a proceeding.

I thought that this was pretty rough treatment, considering all that I had done to serve the Confederacy. From the outbreak of the war I had been on active duty in the face of the enemy, and had taken part in some of the hardest fought battles in the war, while my persecutor had remained at home enjoying his ease, and taking good care to keep out of danger. To prove this to him, as I could easily have done by procuring testimonials from my numerous friends in the army, would have ruined all my hopes and expectations for the future, however, for, in spite of my present unpleasant situation, I was resolved not to give the thing up. So I concluded that the best plan was to suffer in silence, and to allow the mayor to have what satisfaction he could get out of my ten dollars — I wonder if any of it went into the city treasury? — and out of keeping me incarcerated for ten days.

Resolving to be as patient as I could, and to be even with Mr. Monroe some day, if ever a good opportunity presented itself, I consoled myself with the idea that my term of imprisonment was a short one, and would soon be over. I was dreadfully tired of it, however, before the hour of release arrived; and each day my indignation at such an unwarranted outrage increased. The more I thought over the matter the less was I able to see that there was any valid reason for my being subjected to such treatment. At length, after long and impatient waiting, I was free once more; and now the problem was to get out of New Orleans as quickly as possible, before I was recognized by too many people, and in such disguise that I would be able to follow the bent of my inclinations without hinderance.

Exactly how to manage this, I had some difficulty in determining; but as the situation was a somewhat desperate one, I was ready to resort to a desperate measure to accomplish my ends. I felt sure that once more with the army I would be safe; but, with so many suspicious people watching me, it would be, I knew, extremely difficult to get away as I had come, and to enter upon my old career as an independent, without questioning or hinderance. It was therefore necessary for me to smuggle myself, so to speak, among the soldiers again, and I hit upon an expedient for doing so, which, although I felt that it was risky, I resolved to try, and to take my chances for getting out of a new difficulty in case I should fall into one.

I Enlist.

As soon as possible, therefore, after obtaining my release, I proceeded to the recruiting office at the corner of Jefferson and Chatham Streets, and enlisted in Captain B. Moses' company, of the twenty-first Louisiana regiment. The next day we started for Fort Pillow, to join the balance of the regiment.

In this manner I contrived to get clear of New Orleans, but, as I had no fancy for going on duty as a private soldier any longer than was absolutely necessary, although the regiment of which I was a member was as gallant a one as ever went into battle, and my comrades were, most of them, pleasant, agreeable fellows, my next thought was to resume my independent footing at the earliest moment. I therefore went privately to General Villipigue, and, showing my commission, told a plausible story to account for my enlistment, and asked him to give me employment as an officer. The officers and men of the regiment, of course, knew nothing of my being in possession of this document, or of my previous history. General Villipigue was not able to do anything for me, as there were no vacancies, and I therefore applied for a transfer to the army of East Tennessee, and was very cheerfully granted it.

This was the first time I had ever been regularly mustered into the service, and the step was taken, not from choice, but for the purpose of escaping from the surveillance of Mayor Monroe and the Provost Marshal, two individuals whom, after a very brief acquaintance, I did not particularly care to know more intimately. I had many regrets in parting from the officers and men of the twenty-first regiment, whom I had learned to like very much in the short time I had been with them, but I felt that my interests demanded a removal to another locality. Consequently, so soon as I received my papers, I said adieu to my new friends, and was off with all possible speed.

I was not in a very happy frame of mind, and my physical condition was scarcely better than my mental. The occurrences of the weeks that had just passed had not been of the most pleasurable character, and my personal difficulties in New Orleans, coming as they did when I had not recovered from the mental and bodily suffering caused by the contest at Fort Donelson, did not have the eject of making me view life from its bright side. After the episode of a ten days' sojourn in prison, however, it was a great relief for me to feel that I had my destiny in my own hands once more; and at the prospect of again entering upon a life of adventure that would afford me opportunities for winning distinction, my spirit rose, and I was disposed to dismiss the past, with all its unpleasantnesses, and to make a fresh start with all the energy I could command.


Again at Memphis. — Public and private Difficulties. — Future Prospects. — Arrival of my Negro Boy and Baggage from Grand Junction. — A new uniform Suit. — Prepared once more to face the World. — I fall in with an old Friend. — An Exchange of Compliments. — Late Hours. — Some of the Effects of Late Hours. — Confidential Communications. — The Course of true Love runs not smooth. — I renew my Acquaintance with General Lucius M. Polk. — The General disposed to be friendly. — My Friend and I call on his Lady-love and her Sister. — Surprising Behavior of the young Lady. — A genuine Love-letter. — A secret disclosed. — Incidents of a Buggy Ride. — A Declaration of Love. — Lieutenant H. T. Buford as a Lady-killer. — Why should Women not pop the Question as well as Men? — A melancholy Disclosure for my Friend. — I endeavor to encourage him. — A Visit to the Theatre and an enjoyable Evening. — I meet a Friend from New Orleans, and endeavor to remove any Suspicions with regard to my Identity from his Mind. — Progress of my Love-affair with Miss M. — The young Lady and I have our Pictures taken. — I proceed to Corinth for the Purpose of taking Part in the expected Battle. — The Confederate Army advances from Corinth towards Pittsburg Landing.

HAVING secured my transportation and transfer papers, I went to Memphis by the first boat, and was erelong once again at my original starting-point, but in a much less enviable mood than when I had last visited it. Then I was dissatisfied with the way in which things seemed to be going, and especially with the — as it appeared to me — very unnecessary and vexatious difficulties that presented themselves whenever I attempted to secure such a position as would enable me to labor with the most efficiency. My confidence in the sacredness of the cause, in the ability of the Southern armies to sustain it, and its ultimate triumph, were, however, unbroken, notwithstanding that I believed precious time was being wasted, and that, through a mistaken policy, the Confederates were compelled to stand upon the defensive, when they ought to have assumed the aggressive, and attacked the enemy on his own ground.

Now, however, things had changed. The terrible disaster at Fort Donelson had been a rude blow to my ideas of Southern invincibility in the field, and if it did not induce me to despair, it certainly opened my eyes to the magnitude of the task we had on hand, and compelled me to recognize the fact, that we were contending with a resolute and powerful enemy, whose resources were enormously superior to ours, and who was evidently bent upon crushing us to the earth, and compelling us to submit to his dictation. All the fine dreams of the previous summer were dissipated into thin air, but there still remained the consolation, that during the bitter struggle yet to come, there would doubtless be plenty of opportunities for me to serve the cause with efficiency, and to win personal glory by my performances.

I had a certain grim satisfaction, too, in thinking that, as things were going, my ambition to do some genuine hard work would scarcely be so lightly regarded in certain quarters as it had been, and that my zeal would consequently be recognized and rewarded as I thought that it deserved to be.

Difficulties Of My Position.

Apart altogether from the disappointments incident to the military situation, were my private difficulties. My sex had been discovered; and notwithstanding my motives for assuming male attire, and my exemplary conduct while doing a soldier's duty, I had been subjected to gross indignities, simply because I chose to perform a man's, rather than a woman's work. This galled me, especially as my secret having once been revealed, it would now be more than ever difficult for me to figure successfully as a man, and I knew that I would constantly be in danger of detection.

Notwithstanding this, however, I was undismayed, and was resolved upon carrying out my original programme, so far as was practicable, and only sought a field of operations where I would be able to follow the bent of my inclinations with as little probability as possible of being interfered with.

Having accomplished my object in leaving New Orleans, and of maintaining a masculine appearance in doing so, I was encouraged to believe that I would be able, by a little discreet management, to get along without a repetition of the troubles I had encountered in that city, that in the sharp fighting about to occur between the contending armies, I would be able to show my qualities as a soldier to even greater advantage than hitherto, and that amid the excitements of the battle-field and the camp I would forget, or at least cease to think about, the unpleasant things of the past.

So soon as I arrived at Memphis, I telegraphed to Grand Junction for my baggage and my servant, and then went to the tailor, and giving him an order for an officer's uniform suit, with instructions to have it ready at the earliest possible moment, borrowed from him a coat to wear until my new clothing should be ready. I discarded my soldier's jacket with quite as much satisfaction as had inspired me on assuming it, and prepared myself to wait, with what equanimity I could command, the moment when I might be able to figure once more in the eyes of both sexes as the dashing young independent, Lieutenant Harry T. Buford. Clothing, and particular cuts of clothing, have a great deal to do towards making us all, men or women, appear what we would like the world to take us for; and as, although my borrowed coat answered a temporary purpose very well, it did not show me off to the best advantage, I resolved to keep out of sight as much as possible until the tailor had executed his task. I was really not sorry for an opportunity to shut myself up for a day or two, so that I could take a thorough rest, and think, without being interrupted, what was the best plan of action for the immediate future.

My Negro Boy Bob.

The next night, about eleven o'clock, my faithful boy Bob arrived with my baggage, and was delighted to see me again, although my haggard appearance evidently surprised and shocked him. Poor fellow! He little knew what I had passed through since I had parted with him.

"Why, Mas' Harry," he said, "you do look dreadful bad. Has you been sick?"

"Yes, Bob," I replied. "I have been quite ill since I left you, but I am getting quite well now, and am ready to go for the Yankees again."

Bob's eyes sparkled at this, for he was beginning to love fighting almost as much as myself, although the experiences of Fort Donelson had served to extinguish a good deal of the martial ardor that was burning in his heart. I told him enough about my movements since I had seen him last to gratify his curiosity, and to enable him to make satisfactory answers in case any one should question him; and then, giving him orders to call a hack, we drove to the Gegora House, where I took rooms, and prepared to have as good a time as circumstances would permit.

In Uniform Again.

My new uniform suit was ready at the appointed time, and I hastened to array myself in it. Making my toilet with more than usual care, and rearranging my mustache and imperial, which had become somewhat demoralized of late, I took a cane in hand, and strolled out to see what was to be seen, not without a little trepidation, but feeling, on the whole, better satisfied with myself and with things in general than I had done for a long time.

After stepping in and out of a number of the principal saloons and drinking-places, I finally came across a friend whom I was really very glad to meet. This was Lieutenant Philip Hastings, a whole-souled fellow, for whom I had an especial liking, and whom I accordingly greeted with great cordiality. Hastings returned my greeting in an equally cordial manner. Shaking me by the hand, he said, "I am glad to see you, old fellow. What is the good news with you? Where are you from?"

"I am just from the Gulf City," I replied.

"Ah," said he; "what is there new there? Did you have a good time? I suppose you were on a leave of absence."

"O, yes," said I; "I always manage to have a pretty good time wherever I go."

A Delicate Subject.

Said Hastings, looking at me sharply, "I see you have been raising a new crop of mustaches."

I am afraid that I smiled in a rather sickly manner at this; but putting on as bold an air as I could command, I gave the ornaments of my upper lip a twist, to let him see that they were on tight, and said, "Yes, I have been letting them rush a little; the girls tell me they are an improvement."

Hastings then asked me where I was going; and I replied, that I expected to join Beauregard's army, but that my plans were a little uncertain, as I was unfortunately an independent, who belonged nowhere in particular; and that, as the commanding officers were getting so confoundedly strict with regard to a good many things, while they were not half strict enough about others of more consequence, I was not sure where I would bring up. I added, that I was at present in the detective corps, and offered to serve him in any way in my power. He thanked me; and then I asked him how he was getting along, and what time he had been stationed in Memphis.

He informed me that he had been on duty there about three months, but that he expected to be ordered to the front very soon.

After a little more conversation of this sort, Hastings said, "I am trying to marry a mighty pretty girl here, but I don't somehow get along with her as well as I could wish. She is a good girl, just as good as they get to be, and she has a deucedly pretty sister, about fifteen years of age, who I think would suit you. They are not rich, but they are mighty nice, and I would like to introduce you."

"Well, Phil," said I, "I am willing — anything to pass the time pleasantly."

"Well, let's take a drink," said Hastings, "and we will go and see them."

After Visiting Hours.

Hastings had been taking something before I met him, and as I had treated just after we met, this additional drink had the effect of making him rather livelier than the law allowed. He took a brandy smash, and a full-sized one, while I, according to custom, drank cider. Then lighting our cigars, we strolled down the street, my companion bent on making the proposed call. I knew, however, that it must be past visiting hours, and, stopping under a lamp-post, pulled out my watch, and, glancing at it, asked him if he knew what time it was.

"O, it's not late," said he; "about eleven o'clock; they won't be gone to bed yet."

I showed him the dial of the watch, and he exclaimed, "Thunder and lightning! Why, it's one o'clock."

Notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, however, he was very much disposed to insist on going to see the ladies, but finally I succeeded in persuading him of the impropriety of such a course, although he yielded very unwillingly. He then wanted to go and make a night of it somewhere; and on my refusing, started off by himself, I being unable to induce him to go home and get in bed. I did, however, talk him into letting me take charge of his money, with the exception of his small change, and on the plea that I had promised to meet a friend at the hotel, contrived to get away from him. I disliked very much to let Phil go off by himself in the condition he was in, but as he was just enough under the influence of what he had imbibed to be troublesome, and was bent upon having what he called, some fun, my own safety demanded that I should leave him. My New Orleans experience had been a severe one, and it was much too fresh in my memory for me to be willing to run any unnecessary risks of being arrested on similar charges in Memphis, especially as I felt certain that it would not be so easy to get out of the clutches of the authorities a second time, while my future prospects would, in all probability, be irreparable damaged. So, cautioning my friend to take good care of himself, I went back to the hotel as fast as I could, and was soon asleep.

Misplaced Affection.

The next morning Phil came around to the hotel to claim his money, which amounted to over two thousand dollars in Confederate bills. He did not look as fresh as he might have done if he had followed the good advice I gave him the night before, was in a somewhat repentent mood, and, as people when feeling rather badly through their own indiscretion are apt to feel, he was very confidential about a variety of private affairs. During our conversation that morning, he told me any number of his secrets, and especially gave me to understand that matters were not going as well as could be wished between him and his lady-love. I had a fancy that the young lady was, perhaps, offended at something he had said or done while a little under the influence of liquor, and tried to console him and to encourage him, by offering to aid him in any way I could towards straightening matters out. I little suspected what the real difficulty was, or I, perhaps, would not have been so ready in offering my assistance. Alas, poor Phil! his affections were bestowed in the wrong direction, but he lived in hope that things would finally shape themselves according to his wishes, and he confidently expected that in time he would be able so to soften the lady's heart towards him, that she would accept his hand. His dreams of happiness, however, were cut short in an untimely manner, for I saw him fall, while fighting bravely, about two weeks subsequently, at the head of his company, at the battle of Shiloh.

Phil took breakfast with me, and after our meal was despatched, we went to a livery stable, and, obtaining a couple of horses, rode out to camp. I dined with him about four o'clock, and then we rode leisurely back to town, and went up to my room, where we smoked and chatted until supper-time.

On going into the supper-room, I noticed that the eyes of a number of people whom I knew, and especially of several ladies by whom I was in some little fear of being recognized, were fixed upon me. I, however, gave my mustaches a savage twist, and putting on as manly a swagger as I was able to command, determined to brave all consequences.

I Meet General L. M. Polk Again.

My old friend, General Lucius M. Polk, was seated at one of the tables, and I took a seat which brought me nearly back to back with him. He did not notice me when I came in, and I did not care to intrude myself upon him, so did nothing to attract his attention. Soon, however, I said to Hastings, pointing to an old lady in another part of the room, "Lieutenant, there is one of the ladies who were in the habit of visiting Camp Beauregard when I was doing provost duty on the train."

When General Polk heard this, he evidently recognized a familiar voice, and turning round, shook hands with me very cordially.

"Excuse me, general," said I, "but I did not see you when I came in."

"When did you arrive?" said the general.

"Last evening," I replied.

"Where are you from?"

"From New Orleans."

"Is there anything new?"

"No; matters are pretty much as usual. Is there anything new in camp?"

"Well," said the general, "we are expecting to have another battle before long."

"Then," said I, "I am just in time."

"Yes, if you want to have a hand in it," he said. "Are you going out?"

"Probably day after to-morrow," I replied.

"I go at ten o'clock this evening," said the general; and then, turning to the lady with him, he said, "Permit me to introduce you to Mrs. Polk."

I introduced Hastings to the general and his wife, and after a little chat with them, they said good by, and left the room. Hastings and I finished our supper, and then strolled into the bar-room and lighted our cigars.

He was now impatient to have me go with him to call on his girl; so I took his arm, and we sauntered down the street together in the direction of the house which contained the object of his adoration. We stood on the corner for a little while until we had finished our smoke, and then went up to the front door, where Phil rang the bell.

A Social Call.

I always felt a little timorous and unpleasant when compelled to play the rôle I had undertaken, in a social way, among members of my own sex; and whether because of my recent adventure in New Orleans, or for some other cause, I felt unusually reluctant to make the acquaintance of Phil's lady friends. Had I then suspected all that I found out afterwards, I would have been even more dubious about the propriety of permitting myself to be introduced.

We took our seats in the parlor, and soon the two young ladies made their appearance. I was introduced; and as I could see that Hastings desired to converse with Miss M., I undertook to make myself as agreeable as possible to Miss E. We did not get along very well together, however, for she was very shy and bashful, while I was far from feeling at my ease, and was conscious of not distinguishing myself very greatly as a lady's man.

After a little while, as our conversation was not very enlivening, Miss E., apparently as much to break the monotony of the performance as anything else, went out, and returned shortly with a servant girl bearing a waiter of apples. This brought the other couple out of the corner where they had been sitting and conversing in a low tone, and the four of us amused ourselves by eating apples and telling fortunes with the seeds. This appeared to afford some amusement to the other three, but I found it rather dull entertainment, and heartily wished that the evening was over. Phil, however, was so wrapped up with his lady, that he was in no hurry to go; but somehow Miss M. did not appear to fancy him by any means as much as he did her, and before a great while they had quite a falling out, and she addressed her conversation chiefly to me, and seemed to have taken quite a liking to me. I was not a little surprised at the warmth of her manner, but supposed that she was merely trying to provoke Phil by a little coquetry, and never imagined for an instant that there was anything serious in it all.

Unexpected Cordiality.

When we arose to leave, Miss M. was scarcely polite to Phil, but she looked at me in a very bewildering way; and squeezing my hand a little more than our brief acquaintance warranted, gave me a most pressing invitation to call again.

As we walked up the street, Phil asked me how I was pleased, and then told me all about his falling out with his girl. She, it seems, had insisted, with considerable vehemence, that she did not, could not, and would not, love him, and he was very much disposed to think, from what she said, and from the manner in which she behaved, that some other fellow was cutting him out. He little imagined that his friend, Harry T. Buford, was the innocent and unsuspecting cause of his troubles. I tried to cheer him up as well as I could, and then we parted, he to get his horse for a night ride to camp, and I to go to bed at the hotel.

A Secret Revealed.

The next day I received two letters, one of which was from my future husband; for, gentle reader, all these months that, in a guise of a man, I had been breaking young ladies' hearts by my fascinating figure and manner, my own woman's heart had an object upon which its affections were bestowed, and I was engaged to be married to a truly noble officer of the Confederate army, who knew me, both as a man and as a woman, but who little suspected that Lieutenant Harry T. Buford, and his intended wife, were one and the same person. By this letter, I learned that my lover was then at Corinth, where I expected to meet him in a few days, and my heart jumped for joy at the idea of being able to fight by his side in the battle that was coming off. This I was determined to do, if the thing could be managed.

Under the influence of the pleasurable emotions excited by this letter, and the prospect of again seeing the man I loved after a separation of many months, I wrote a note to the two young ladies I had visited the night before, inviting them to go buggy-riding. I then went to the bank and drew some money, and on my return to the hotel, found an acceptance from my lady friends.

I accordingly hired a couple of teams, one for Hastings, and one for myself; but on arriving at the house, much to Phil's disgust, Miss M. would not go with him, and he took her sister, while his lady, with great apparent satisfaction, seated herself in my vehicle. I felt for him, for I knew that he was terribly disappointed; and with a just received love-letter of my own in my pocket, I was more appreciative of his emotions than I probably otherwise would have been, and made an attempt towards effecting another arrangement. Phil, however, put on a careless air, as if it were all one to him which girl he had, and tipping me a wink, said that he was satisfied as things were.

When we got started, I said to Miss M., "I am afraid I am interfering with my friend's pleasure."

"O," said she, "it's all right. I don't belong to him. He is mad with me, and I don't care if he never gets pleased again."

"You must be mistaken," I said. "I know that he thinks a great deal of you, and he would not offend you for the world. You oughtn't to be hurt at his brusque manner sometimes, for it's just a way he has, and he don't mean anything by it."

"I don't care what his manner is," she put in, rather tartly, "for I don't love him, and wish that he wouldn't bother me."

A Good Word For A Friend.

This induced me to think that I could put in a good word for Hastings, and, perhaps, soften the heart of the lady towards him. I accordingly began to set forth all his good qualities in the best light, and to try and persuade her that it was worth while to win the affections of such a fine fellow.

So soon as she fully comprehended what my meaning was, she would not let me proceed; saying, "It's no use of talking to me about Lieutenant Hastings. I cannot love him, for I am in love with another man, and would give anything in the world if I could only possess his heart."

I thought that this was getting to be rather more confidential than there was any necessity for, considering our short acquaintance; and had I been a man, I suppose it would have been quite the proper thing for me to have become embarrassed. As things were, however, I was rather amused at the idea of the young lady undertaking to reveal the state of her affections in such an explicit manner, but never suspected what she was really driving at. I fancied that she was merely trying to draw me out for the purpose of seeing what I would say to her, and thought that her real object, after all, was to stimulate Phil's affections by making him a little jealous. Women, as I have more means than one of knowing, are in the habit of playing just such little tricks as these, and it is astonishing what luck they have in making them succeed.

After considering a moment what I had better say in reply to Miss M.'s bit of confidential communication, I asked if I knew the fortunate individual who had made the conquest of her affections.

"Yes," she replied, looking at me out of the corners of her eyes, and then bashfully dropping her eyelids, and doing her best to blush.

"Well," said I, "if you will tell me his name, I will try and find out for you what his feelings are. Perhaps if I give him a hint that a nice girl is in love with him, he will try and make himself agreeable."

A Revelation.

She hesitated, sighed, bit her lips, made a desperate attempt at blushing, and finally murmured, in what was evidently intended to be a sweet, low, and very touching tone of voice, "I will tell you his initials;" and then, after moment's hesitation, "They are H. T. B."

Before this came out, I was beginning to understand from what direction the wind was blowing; and when this very broad hint was given, I could scarcely contain myself from laughing outright, the situation was so supremely ridiculous. I managed, however, to keep a straight face, and feeling a real sympathy for Phil, and an anxiety to make matters all right for him if I could, I pretended not to understand who the fortunate one could be, and said, "Where does he live? Is he an officer?"

"O, yes," she answered, "and one of the sweetest, handsomest fellows that ever lived. He stops at one of the most fashionable hotels."

I felt immensely flattered at this, as may be conceived, but could not help thinking that, however entertaining it might be to me, it was awful rough on Hastings. I still, however, pretended that I could not understand, the lady all the while wondering, doubtless, what made me so confoundedly obtuse; and after pretending for a few moments to be guessing, I finally said, "Well, I'll give it up; I don't know who it can be." And then, as if a bright idea had just struck me, added, "O, here, just write his name in my diary, if you are too bashful to tell me."

I accordingly handed her the book and a pencil, and she wrote my name, and handed it back, blushing more furiously than ever.

I read the name; and pretending to be astonished, and dreadfully shocked, exclaimed, "O, this cannot be possible!"

"Yes," said she, "you are the object of my affections, and have been for a long time, and I am determined not to love any one else."

This was rushing the thing rather stronger than I thought there was any occasion for; and wondering what on earth the girl meant, I asked, "Since when have I been the object of your affections? I have only been acquainted with you since last night."

"I have loved you ever since last November, when I saw you in the cars. We were strangers then, but I have been longing ever since for an opportunity to make your acquaintance."

I began to wonder how many more susceptible feminine hearts I had unwittingly conquered during my military conductorship; but thinking still of Phil's misfortune, I asked her whether she had ever told him of all this.

She replied that she had, but that, not knowing my name, she was unable to inform him who his rival was, although she had informed him that there was a rival.

Here, thought I, was a nice mess; and I scarcely knew whether to be amused or disgusted at the perversity of Fate, which made me such an irresistible lady-killer. Miss M. was evidently dead in earnest, and was a nice, attractive-looking, and real good girl, who would have made Phil a capital wife. As for her forwardness in letting me know the state of her affections for me, I could not blame her for that; for I had adopted a similar expedient in my own case, and considered that, although it is, as a rule, a man's place to make the first advances, there is no good reason why a woman who is in love with a man should not take measures to let him know the fact. The conventionalities of society are not always based on reason and common sense, and even where they have a rationalistic basis, people are very apt to quibble about very immaterial points, to the neglect of really weighty matters.

A Question Of Propriety.

In the relations of the sexes, there are many points which society insists upon for the sake of the proprieties, which are absolutely absurd when tested by any common-sense standard, while permitting a laxity of manners in others that is far from being conducive to good morals or to the general happiness. Many a woman has lost a good husband through a false modesty, which would not permit her to even give him a hint with regard to her real feelings; for some of the best and most whole-souled men are frequently as timid and bashful as the most timid and bashful women, and require some encouragement before they can be induced to speak; while others are strangely obtuse, and do not even think of being anything more than commonly polite to particular ladies, unless something is done to stimulate them. Such backward and thick-witted men are often the most ardent lovers, and the fondest and best of husbands when they are once aroused. Many a woman, too, is fond of one man while she is being persistently courted by another; and if, as is apt to be the case, the object of her regards refuses to notice her in the manner she wishes, — perhaps simply because he does not like to interfere with another man's love affair, — she has no resource, if she hopes for a happy future, but to declare herself. There was, therefore, no occasion for censuring Miss M.; but the fact that Phil's rival happened to be, of all people in the world, Lieutenant Harry T. Buford, C. S. A., certainly complicated the situation.

I could not resist the temptation to have a little sport at the expense of Miss M.; but I was really desirous of trying so to manage matters that Phil would be placed in a better position with his lady than before. I knew that the worst thing I could do would be to repel her advances, and concluded that it was incumbent upon me to at least meet her half way. As she still continued to address me with some degree of formality as Lieutenant, or Mr. Buford, I — giving her an ogle that was intended to be very sympathetic, and to indicate how profoundly my feelings had been wrought upon — suggested that she should call me Harry. This was said in a very tender tone, and evidently made a great impression. During the balance of the ride we exchanged confidences in a very lover-like manner, and by the time we reached home again, Miss M. was in a very happy state of mind, being convinced that she had made a conquest of the man she had so long sighed for. It was all very absurd, of course, and very melancholy from a certain point of view; but I could not help being amused, although I wished myself well out of the scrape, and resolved to inform Phil how matters stood immediately.

A Surprise For My Friend.

Having returned our teams to the livery stable, I invited him to my room, and having settled ourselves for a smoke, I disclosed the whole situation to him. He was very much surprised, and a good deal cut up by what I told him, and said Miss M. had often spoken to him of another officer for whom she had an affection, but that he had never imagined that it was I.

I told him that I was quite as much surprised as himself, and that I certainly should not have called upon the lady had I known what was going to happen.

Phil paced up and down the room a good deal agitated; and at length he burst out with, "Well, now, lieutenant, ain't women d — d deceitful things anyhow? but I shan't mind being gone back on in this way very long. I will leave for the field in a few days, and I will try and forget her, and, in the meantime, I will not call without your consent."

"O, pshaw," said I; "I am not in love with the girl, Hastings, and I don't expect to be. I have no intention of marrying, and I don't propose to interfere with you in the least. So go ahead, and win the lady if you can, and I don't doubt but that you can, if you only try hard enough."

"No," said Hastings, "I don't want to marry any girl who don't love me, or who has a fancy for another fellow."

"Well, any how," I replied, "it is kind of pleasant, though, to have a nice place to pass one's leisure hours in, and you might as well visit Miss M., even if you choose to give up the idea of marrying her, as there is, certainly, no necessity for your doing."

The Expensiveness Of Courtship.

"But," said Phil, — and I could not help laughing at the sorrowful energy with which he made this declaration, — "a fellow has to make a girl so many little presents, and show her so many attentions, that the thing gets mighty expensive, unless both parties mean business. It takes a sight of trouble to get into the good graces of some women, and then they are so fickle and uncertain, that it is impossible to tell when you have them safe.

"Why," said he, warming with his subject, "women have cost me a small fortune, and I have had mighty little satisfaction with them;" and then, lapsing into a reflective mood, added, "Why do men run after them, any how, when they so often regret it afterwards?" This was a conundrum, for which he, apparently, found no satisfactory answer; for, after a moment's pause, he said, "Well, I guess, it must be ordained, and we'll have to put up with it."

This, I thought, was showing a proper philosophical spirit, even if it was not altogether complimentary to my sex; so I said "Well, Phil, we ought not to complain about women being what they are; we must always remember that our mothers were women."

This appeared to touch Phil in a tender place; for he said, in a softer tone, "That's so; and God Almighty never made anything better than a real good woman. The good ones are better than the best of us men. If any man were to take advantage of my sister I would kill him."

I then suggested that he should not give it up with Miss M. yet, and promised to aid his cause with her as best I could. The result was, that Hastings was feeling a good deal better at the close of the conversation than at the beginning of it, and his little disappointment in love did not in the least prevent him from eating, and evidently enjoying immensely, a very hearty supper.

While at supper, I proposed that we should go to the theatre, and take the girls. To this Phil readily assented, and Bob was accordingly despatched with an invitation. He soon returned, with an answer to the effect that the ladies would be most happy to accompany us.

On our way to the theatre, Miss M. suggested that we should have our pictures taken, and gallantry would not permit me to refuse. So I made an engagement with her for the next day to go to the photographers. I had not seen a play for a long time, and consequently enjoyed the entertainment immensely; and being considerably more interested in it than in the young lady, Phil had no reason to complain of the warmth of my attentions to her. He tried to take advantage of the occasion to reinstate himself in her good graces, but I am sorry to say that he did not make much headway, and Miss M., much to his chagrin, persisted in manifesting a decided partiality for Lieutenant Buford.

An Alarm.

After the play was over we took the ladies home; and I said good night to Hastings, who started for camp, while I returned to the hotel, where I found a note from my friend, Major Bacon, who was stopping at the Commercial Hotel. I accordingly went to call on him, and found that he had just arrived from New Orleans. This made me feel really uneasy, and I was not a little alarmed when he told me that he had heard of my arrest by the mayor. I was a trifle reassured, however, when I was unable to notice anything in his speech or manner to indicate that he believed me to be a women; and to quiet any suspicions that might be lurking in his mind, I said, as I twisted my mustache, and put on all the swagger I was able, "I am a queer-looking female, ain't I, major?" And then, to clinch the matter, I invited him to take a drink.

The major replied "Well, you might manage to pass for one, if you were to put on petticoats;" but, rather to my astonishment, he did not seem to be particularly interested in the matter; and as I was not especially anxious to make it a subject for conversation, we soon began to talk about something else.

The next day, in accordance with my promise, I went to the photographers with Miss M., and we had our pictures taken, and made an exchange. From that time, up to the date of my departure from Memphis, I was an almost daily visitor at her house, and was looked upon by her and her friends as an accepted lover, although I certainly was not as explicit in my language on the subject of matrimony as accepted lovers are usually supposed to be under the necessity of being. On the contrary, I tried to put in a good word for Phil as often as I could, until I saw that it was no use pleading for him, as the young lady seemed to have taken an unconquerable aversion to him. That she should have discarded such a really worthy fellow for me was a source of serious annoyance to me; and one reason why I kept up my acquaintance with her was, in the hope of doing him a service.

At length, all the officers in Memphis were ordered to proceed to Corinth without delay, and then every one knew that a big battle was expected to come off shortly. As a consequence, the greatest excitement prevailed, and many of the officers found it hard work parting from their friends. In order to avoid a scene with Miss M., I wrote her a note, bidding her farewell, which was not to be delivered until after I left the city; and, jumping aboard the train, was soon on my way to Corinth[.]

On arriving at Corinth, I found great preparations being made, and everything nearly ready for a forward movement. I met a considerable number of old friends, some of them old Virginia comrades, whom I had not seen for a very long time. We exchanged very cordial greetings, but otherwise we had not much time to give to each other, they having important duties to perform, while I was eagerly endeavoring to obtain some official position that would enable me to participate in the coming fight in a manner advantageous to myself. All the commanding officers, however, were too busy just then to attend to me; and so I resolved to follow the army to the field in my independent capacity, and take my chances there.

The order to advance being given, the army moved out of Corinth in the direction of Pittsburg Landing, animated by the expectation of being able to fall upon the enemy, and deliver a crushing blow at a moment when it was least expected.


A Surprise upon the Federal Army at Pittsburg Landing arranged. — A brilliant Victory expected. — I start for the Front, and encamp for the Night at Monterey. — My Slumbers disturbed by a Rain-storm. — I find General Hardee near Shiloh Church, and ask Permission to take a Hand in the Fight. — The Opening of the Battle. — Complete Surprise of the Federals. — I see my Arkansas Company, and join it. — A Lieutenant being killed, I take his Place, amid a hearty Cheer from the Men. — A Secret revealed. — I fight through the Battle under the Command of my Lover. — Furious Assaults on the Enemy's Lines. — The Bullets fly thick and fast. — General Albert Sydney Johnston killed. — End of the first Day's Battle, and Victory for the Confederates. — Beauregard's Error in not pursuing his Advantage. — I slip through the Lines after Dark, and watch what is going on at Pittsburg Landing. — The Gunboats open Fire. — Unpleasant Effect of Shells from big Guns. — Utter Demoralization of the Federals. — Arrival of Buell with Re-enforcements. — General Grant and another general Officer pass near me in a Boat, and I am tempted to take a Shot at them. — I return to Camp, and wish to report what I had seen to General Bureaugard, but am dissuaded from doing so by my Captain. — Uneasy Slumbers. — Commencement of the second Day's Fight. — The Confederates unable to contend with the Odds against them. — A lost Opportunity. — The Confederates defeated, and compelled to retire from the Field. — I remain in the Woods near the Battle-field all Night.

FORT DONELSON was to be avenged. After the capture of that position, the Federals had swept in triumph through Tennessee, the Confederates having been compelled to abandon their lines in that state and in Kentucky, and to seek a new base of operations farther south. The Federals were now concentrating in great force at Pittsburg Landing, on the Tennessee River, their immediate object of attack evidently being Corinth, and General Albert Sydney Johnston, who was in command of the entire Confederate army, resolved upon striking a vigorous blow at once, with a view of turning the tide of victory in our favor before the enemy were assembled in such strength as to make it imperative for us to act upon the defensive, and to fight behind our intrenchments. The experiences of more than one well-fought field had shown how well nigh irresistible the Confederate soldiers were in making an attack, and the general knew that it would be necessary for him to be the assailant, if he expected to get all the work out of his men they were able to do.

The reports which we received from our scouts, and from the country people, indicated either that the Federals were unaware of the strength of the Confederates in their immediate neighborhood, or else that, flushed with victory, they were over-confident, and were taking comparatively few precautions against a surprise. These things were the common talk of the Confederates for days before the battle took place; and while not a little astonishment was expressed at the temerity of the enemy, considerable jubilation was felt at the idea of our being able to gain a comparatively easy victory, which would put an end to the invasion, or at least so stagger the Federals, that subsequent operations against them would be unattended with any great difficulties.

A Surprise In Preparation.

We all knew that a surprise was to be attempted, and all felt confident of its success, although some hard fighting was expected before the rout of the Federals could be achieved. Hard fighting, however, was something from which the Confederate soldiers did not shrink at any time, and on this occasion every one was anxious to repair the disaster of Fort Donelson, and to teach the enemy a lesson they would not be likely to forget in a hurry.

At the prospect of a battle, and especially of a battle in which the chances of winning a brilliant victory would be on the side of the Confederates, I was as eager to participate, notwithstanding the severity of my recent experiences, as I was the first time I faced the enemy. If I thought of Fort Donelson, and the retreat of Johnston's army after the fall of that position, it was only with a desire to be revenged for the sufferings my brave comrades and myself had endured, and my thoughts rather turned to Bull Run and Ball's Bluff, where Southern valor had so signally displayed itself, and where I had assisted in defeating the enemy, and in sending them flying, a routed and panic-stricken mob, from the field.

My love for such excitement as only a great battle can give, too, overpowered all lesser emotions, and my mortification at the indignities I had endured at the hands of Mayor Monroe and his satellites in New Orleans, was overcome by the thought that, notwithstanding the fact that I was a woman, I was as good a soldier as any man around me, and as willing as any to fight valiantly and to the bitter end before yielding. The fighting blood of my ancestor, old Governor Don Diego, was making itself felt in my veins as I prepared to follow Hardee's corps to the scene of action with all possible expedition.

Off For The Field.

Obtaining a pass from the provost marshal, I put my tent in an army wagon, and then Bob and I mounted our horses and started for the field, on Saturday, April 5, 1862. The roads were in a horrible condition from the heavy spring rains, and we made rather slow progress, — much too slow for my impatient spirit, — and I was very tired when, at nightfall, I reached a village of half a dozen scattered houses called Monterey, about half way between Corinth and Shiloh Church, a little Methodist meeting-house, just outside the Federal picket lines.

It was necessary for me to halt here until morning; so, obtaining sufficient forage for my horse from a Mississippi regiment, I prepared to camp for the night, and hoped to get a sound sleep, to fit me for the hot work of the next day.

The Night Before The Battle Of Shiloh.

My animals having been fed, I took off the saddles, and raking up a quantity of leaves, arranged my bed by spreading a saddle blanket to lie upon, and placing a saddle for a pillow. Then throwing myself on this extemporized couch, I wrapped myself in an army blanket, and was soon lost in slumber as profound as would have visited me had my accommodations been of the most luxurious description.

I was not destined, however, to have a quiet, uninterrupted slumber, such as I needed, for ere long I was awakened by the rain, which began to fall in torrents, and which compelled me to seek some more sheltered spot in which to finish the night. My first care was for my horse, and covering him well with the blanket, I went as fast as I could to one of the deserted houses of the village, and stopped there until the rain was over.

It was quite three o'clock before the shower ceased, and it was high time for me to be moving if I expected to take part in the opening of the battle, as I was exceedingly anxious to do. I therefore ordered the horses to be saddled, and was in a few moments ready to start. A soldier very generously offered me a cup of army coffee, which, although perhaps it was not quite equal in strength and flavor to some I had tasted in the best hotels, was swallowed with great relish, and with many benedictions on the giver, whose courtesy I rewarded by a good-sized drink of brandy, from a flask I carried for the benefit of my friends. His eyes fairly sparkled with delight as he gulped it down, and he smacked his lips as if he had not had such a treat for many a day. Then mounting my horse, I set off at a smart pace for General Hardee's headquarters.

I found the general stationed near Shiloh Church, and rode up and saluted him just as he was mounting his horse. Showing him my pass, I said that I wanted to have a hand in this affair. Hardee looked at the pass, and replied, "All right; fall in, and we'll see what can be done for you."

Commencement Of The Fight.

The fighting had already commenced between the skirmish lines of the two armies while I was conversing with the general, and the troops were hurrying forward to attack the Federals before they could gain time to prepare themselves for an effective resistance.

In obedience to Hardee's command, I fell in with his men, and we advanced briskly upon the enemy's camp. It was a complete surprise in every respect. Many of the enemy were only half dressed, and were obliged to snatch up the first weapons that came to hand as the Confederates rushed out of the woods upon them. The contest was brief and decisive, and in a few moments such of the enemy as escaped the deadly volleys which we poured into them were scampering away as fast as their legs could carry them. We took possession of their camp, with all its equipage, almost without resistance, and I thought that this was an excellent good beginning of the day's work, especially as I had the pleasure of eating a capital hot breakfast, which had been prepared for some Federal officer. I enjoyed it immensely, for I was decidedly hungry after my early morning march, the cup of coffee tendered by my soldier friend not having proved as satisfactory as something more substantial might have done.

I had scarcely finished eating when I came across General Hardee again. He was in a high good humor at the course events had taken thus far, and said to me, in a jocular sort of way; "Well, lieutenant, what can I do for you?"

I replied that I was anxious to do my share of the fighting, and wanted to be stationed where there was plenty of work to be done.

The general laughed a little at my enthusiasm, but just then his attention was called away for a moment, and I, glancing down the line, spied the Arkansas boys whom I had enlisted at Hurlburt Station nearly a year before. I was immediately seized with a desire to go into the fight with them; so I said, "Ah, there is my old company, general; with your permission, I will see the captain. Perhaps he can give me a chance."

I Rejoin My Arkansas Boys.

Hardee nodded an assent, and, giving him a salute, I started off at full speed to the rear, where I got my commission out of my pocket, and then darted along the line, closely followed by Bob, my idea being to avoid being stopped by giving the impression that I was bearing an order from the general. Dismounting from my horse, I forced my way through the ranks until I reached Captain De Caulp, who shook me heartily by the hand, and was evidently delighted to see me, as we had not met since I parted from him in Pensacola the previous June, when starting for Richmond. My pleasure at the interview, especially at meeting him again under such circumstances as those I am describing, was of a very different and much more intense kind than his, for reasons that will appear hereafter.

It was no time then, however, to exchange compliments, for there was hot work before us if the brilliant successes of the first assaults upon the Federal position were to be followed up to a satisfactory issue. I therefore told Captain De Caulp that I was anxious to have a hand in the fight, and especially to go into the thing with this company, if it could be permitted, and asked him if he could not assign me to some duty. I spoke in such a way, and in a sufficiently loud tone for the other officers and the men to understand that I belonged to the special corps, and was doing a share of the fighting just for the love of the thing. Some of them evidently did not know who I was, and were inclined to regard me as an intruder; for I heard a soldier behind me say, "What little dandy is that?" Some one replied, "Why, don't you know? That's the fellow that raised the company," — a bit of information that undoubtedly raised me immensely in the estimation of the interrogator, as well as in that of others who had joined the company since I had left it.

Among Old Friends.

Notwithstanding the number of strange faces that met my eyes as I glanced along the ranks, I saw enough old acquaintances to make me feel very much at home, and I was delighted beyond measure in an opportunity to take part in a great battle along with my own company that I had raised over in the Arkansas swamp, that I had marched through New Orleans and Mobile in such gallant style, and that I had so astonished my late husband by appearing in Pensacola at the head of, and resolved to prove myself worthy of them, and to show that, even if I was a little dandy, I was as good a soldier as the best of them when any hard fighting was to be done. Indeed, all the circumstances were such as to inspire me to distinguish myself by some unusually gallant action, and I resolved that, if it were possible to do so, the occasion should be made a memorable one for us all.

Captain De Caulp told me to remain with him, and to wait and see what would happen for my advantage; for as some desperate fighting was yet to be done, there would very probably be some need of my services before the battle was over. In the mean time, and until there was a special call upon me, I could fight on my own hook, or act as a sort of aid to him. He then sent his orderly to the rear with the boy Bob and the horses, with directions to conduct them to the camp.

Glancing over the field, I saw the eleventh Louisiana regiment, with a friend of mine, and a brave officer, Colonel Sam. Marks, at its head, going for the enemy in gallant style, and in a short time the order came for us to advance. I was all oak, as the boys would say, and there was not upon the whole field a prouder or more determined upholder of the fortunes of the Confederacy, or one who was more bent upon retrieving past disasters, and of inflicting upon the Federals a blow from which they would not be able to recover, than myself. I considered it a rare piece of good fortune that I was able to take part in what all hoped and expected would be a decisive battle with my own company, — as fine a body of men as were in the field, — and there were special reasons for feelings of jubilation at the idea of being permitted to fight by the side of Captain De Caulp.

The Secret Out.

The secret might as well be told now as at any other time, I suppose; so the reader will please know that Captain De Caulp and I were under an engagement of marriage, having been in correspondence with each other since my departure from Pensacola. I had his letters in my breast pocket, and his photograph in the lining of my coat, while, I doubt not, that he had about him memorials of my unworthy self; and if he cared as much for me as I was led to believe he did by the fervency of his epistles, I was the especial object of his thoughts when, in obedience to the command to advance, we dashed at the enemy. He little suspected, however, that the woman to whom his heart and hand were pledged was by his side as he led his men into that bloody fray; for, as I have before explained, he had an acquaintance with me both as a woman and as a man, but did not know that the two were the same.

An Inspiring Situation.

The situation was a singularly inspiring one for me, as may readily be imagined; it was, in fact, such a situation as I doubt whether any woman had ever been placed in before; and yet it seemed the most natural thing in the world that I should be there, and that I should try to distinguish myself by deeds of valor, for the sake of winning the approving smile of the man who, of all others, I was anxious should give me his approbation.

It may be thought that, even if I felt no fear for myself, as a woman I should have had some tremors when beholding my lover advancing into the thick of a desperate fight, at the head of his men. The idea of fear, either on his or on my own account, however, never occurred to me at the time, although, on reflecting over the matter afterwards, it struck me that some slight emotion of that kind would perhaps have been proper under the circumstances. We cannot think of everything at once, however; and just at that time I was intent only on defeating the enemy before me, and proving myself a good fighter in the eyes of Captain De Caulp and his command. As for him, I desired for his sake, even more ardently than on my own account, that the occasion should be a glorious one, and I had a strange delight in following him into the thickest of the mêlée, and in watching with what undaunted spirit he bore himself throughout the long and sternly-fought battle.

We had not been long engaged before the second lieutenant of the company fell. I immediately stepped into his place, and assumed the command of his men. This action was greeted by a hearty cheer from the entire company, all the veterans of which, of course, knew me, and I took the greeting as an evidence that they were glad to see their original commander with them once more, and evidently anxious to do a full share of the heavy job of work that was to be done before the field could be ours. This cheer from the men was an immense inspiration to me; and the knowledge that not my lover only, but the company which I had myself recruited, and thousands of others of the brave boys of our Southern army were watching my actions approvingly, encouraged me to dare everything, and to shrink from nothing to render myself deserving of their praises.

A Furious Assault.

Our assaults upon the enemy were made with irresistible fury, and we rushed through their lines, literally mowing them down like grain before the mowing machine. It was grander fighting than I had ever witnessed before, surpassing even the great sortie at Fort Donelson in desperateness and inspirational qualities. The bullets whistled through the air thick and fast, cutting the trees, and making the branches snap and fly, splintering the fence rails, striking the wagons, or sending some poor soldier suddenly to the earth. A corporal who was by my side was shot through the heart by a Minie ball. He fell heavily against me, and all my clothing was reddened by his blood. His only words were, "Damn the Yankees! they have killed me." He was a very handsome young man, only about twenty-two years of age, and his death perfectly infuriated me, as it did his other comrades.

The Federals never succeeded in recovering from the surprise of the morning; and although they stood their ground most stubbornly in some places, their entire line was gradually driven back towards the Landing, and each succeeding hour of the fight made their total defeat more of a certainty than ever.

General Albert Sydney Johnston Killed.

Shortly before three o'clock in the afternoon, our commander-in-chief, General Albert Sydney Johnston, was numbered among the slain. His death, however, was carefully concealed from the army, and was known to but few until the battle was over. He was a great soldier, and his loss was an irreparable one; for had he lived to superintend the conduct of the battle to the end, it is scarcely possible that he would have failed to push his advantages to the utmost, or that he would have committed the mistakes which turned a brilliant and decisive victory into an overwhelming and most maddening defeat.

Close Of The First Day's Battle.

When the sun set that day the Confederates were successful at every point, and although they had suffered terribly, they had forced the enemy's lines back almost to the Landing, so that there was nothing now left them to do but to make a final successful stand, or else be crowded over the bluffs into the river, just as I had seen them crowded, six months before, at Ball's Bluff. That they could have made a final effective resistance, had the Confederates finished the day's work in the spirit they had begun it, was scarcely within the range of possibility; and I confidently expected, as the daylight declined in the sky, to witness a repetition, on a larger scale, of all the horrors of the Ball's Bluff battle. There was absolutely no escape for the Federals; and their only hope was to hold their last rallying ground, and to gain time until the arrival of re-enforcements, which would enable them to recover their lost ground, and to assume the offensive against our victorious, but worn and shattered army. Why the Confederate advantages were not pushed that night, before General Buell could arrive with his fresh troops, and the Federal army either captured or annihilated, as it assuredly would have been, was a mystery to me then, and is now.

During the afternoon, I succeeded in gaining a good deal of very important information from several prisoners, and particularly from a sergeant belonging to the twenty-seventh Illinois regiment. I did this by inducing him to believe that I was only in the Confederate army under compulsion, and that I intended to desert at the first opportunity. I got out of him pretty much everything he knew about the Federal situation, who the different commanders were, and even how the forces were posted; and, in full confidence that all I told him was the literal truth, he took out his diary and wrote a short note to his colonel, which he intrusted to me to deliver for him. From this prisoner I learned how desperate were the straits of the enemy, and how anxiously they were awaiting the arrival of Buell with re-enforcements, and I was, consequently, in despair, for I saw our brilliant victory already slipping from us, when General Beauregard, who had succeeded to the command after the death of Johnston, issued the order from his headquarters at the little Shiloh church, for us to halt in our advance, and to sleep on our arms all night, instead of pursuing the routed enemy, and compelling them either to surrender or to take to the river, as we compelled them to do at Ball's Bluff.

A Fatal Mistake.

When I heard Beauregard's order, I felt that a fatal mistake was being committed; and, in utter desperation at the very thought of losing on the morrow all that we had gained by the most determined and desperate fighting through that long and bloody day, I could not resist the temptation of making an effort to find out for myself exactly what the situation within the enemy's lines really was, and was willing to run all the risks of being caught and shot as a spy, rather than to endure the suspense of a long night of uncertainty.

My station was with the advanced picket line, I having persuaded the captain to post me in a manner most favorable for carrying out my designs. I did not dare to tell him all I proposed to do, for fear that he would consider it his duty to prevent me, but gave him to understand that I intended, under cover of the darkness, to creep up as close as I could, with safety, to the Federal lines, with a view of trying to find out something concerning their movements. He hesitated somewhat at even permitting me to do this much without the knowledge of the colonel, but finally gave a tacit consent. I also refrained from telling my full design to my immediate companion of the picket station, and made up a story about my intentions, which I thought would keep him quiet, and also promised to give him a drink of good whiskey when I got back if he would mind his own business and not attempt to interfere with me.

I Make A Reconnoissance.

I accordingly stole away, and creeping as noiselessly as I possibly could through the underbrush, approached the Landing. The command of General Wallace was stationed at this end of the Federal line, and I had a good deal of trouble to get past his pickets, being compelled to pause very frequently, and to keep close to the ground, watching favorable opportunities for advancing from one point to another. I finally, however, did manage to get past them, and gained a tolerably good point of observation near the river, where I could see quite plainly what was going on at the Landing.

It was just as I had anticipated. The Federals were crowding about the Landing in utter disorder, and were without any means of crossing the river. They were completely in a trap, and so evidently keenly appreciated the fact, that the capture of the entire army ought to have been an easy matter. One more grand charge along the entire line, in the same brilliant fashion that we had opened the battle, and every officer and man on this side of the river would either have been slain or taken prisoner, while we would have gained possession of the Landing, and have prevented any of the expected re-enforcements from crossing.

Beauregard's Mistake.

At this moment, I felt that if I could only command our army for two good hours I would be willing to die the moment the victory was won, while it maddened me to think that our commander should have permitted such an opportunity for inflicting a perfectly crushing defeat on the enemy to pass by unimproved. Beauregard, certainly, could not have understood the situation, or he would inevitably have pursued his advantage; and yet I could not understand how he could help knowing, not only that the Federals were in desperate straits, but that fresh troops were hurrying to their assistance, and that in the morning the battle would, assuredly, be resumed with the odds all in their favor.

Arrival Of Federal Re-Enforcements.

While I was watching and chafing under the blunder that I was sure had been committed, a steamboat with re-enforcements arrived at the Landing. These fresh troops were immediately formed, and despatched to the front. Another detachment came, before I withdrew, overwhelmed with grief and disgust at the idea of our victory coming to nothing, simply because there was not the requisite energy at headquarters to strike the final blow that was needed, in order that our hard fighting might have its proper reward.

There was, evidently, somebody on the Federal side who was bent on retrieving the disaster; for the hurried movements of the new troops, and the constant firing which the two gunboats — Tyler and Lexington — kept up, indicated an aggressiveness that augured unfavorable for our tired and badly cut up army when the fight should re-open in the morning. The two gunboats had moved up to the mouth of Lick Creek, and about dark commenced throwing shells into our lines in a manner that was anything but agreeable, and that demoralized our men more than any kind of attack they had been compelled to stand up under. I had been under musketry and artillery fire a number of times, and did not find the sharp hiss of the bullets, or the scream of the shells, particularly pleasant. There was something horrible, however, about the huge missiles hurled by the gunboats, and they excited far more disagreeable sensations than either musket or rifle bullets, or the favors which the field artillerists were in the habit of bestowing. These shells could easily be seen in the air for some seconds, and each individual that beheld them had an uncomfortable feeling that they were aiming directly at him, with a strong probability of striking. Sometimes they burst in the air, scattering in every direction; oftener they burst just as they struck, and the pieces inflicted ugly wounds if they happened to hit anybody, and occasionally they would bury themselves in the ground, and then explode, tearing holes large enough to bury a cart and horse in.

There was something almost comical in the way the soldiers, who had fought, without flinching, for hours in the face of a terrific artillery and musketry fire, attempted to dodge these shells. The hideous screams uttered by them, just before striking, seeming to drive all the courage out of the hearts of those against whom they were directed. Facing this kind of attack, without being able in any way to reply to it, was much more trying than the toughest fighting; and the rapidity with which the gunners on board the boats kept up their fire about dusk, undoubtedly had a great effect in checking the Confederate's advance, and in saving the badly-beaten Federal army from utter rout.

During the whole of the night the Tyler and Lexington threw their shells steadily, and at frequent intervals, in the direction of our army; but now that the fighting was over, and our men were trying to rest for the work of the morrow, it was comparatively easy to keep out of their way, and they consequently did not do much damage. A heavy rain storm, in the middle of the night, had much more to do with making the situation an unpleasant one than the firing from the gunboats, as it drenched every one to the skin, and seriously disturbed the slumbers of the wearied soldiers.

General Grant's Peril.

While surveying, from my post of observation in the bushes, the movements of the routed Federal troops at the Landing, a small boat, with two officers in it, passed up the river. As it drew near the place where I was concealed, I recognized one of the officers as General Grant, and the other one I knew by his uniform to be a general. Grant I had seen at Fort Donelson, and I had met with pictures of him in some of the illustrated papers, so that I had no trouble in knowing him in spite of the darkness. The boat passed so close to me that I could occasionally catch a word or two of the conversation that was passing between the Federal commander and his associate, although, owing to the splashing of the oars, and the other noises, I could not detect what they were talking about.

My heart began to beat violently when I saw Grant, and my hand instinctively grasped my revolver. Both he, and the officer with him, were completely at my mercy, for they were within easy pistol shot, and my first impulse was to kill them, and run the risk of all possible consequences to myself. I did even go so far as to take a good aim, and in a second more, had I been a little firmer-nerved, the great Federal general, and the future President of the United States, would have finished his career.

It was too much like murder, however, and I could not bring myself to do the deed, although it would have been as justifiable as any killing that takes place in warfare. Any soldier, however, will appreciate my feelings; for those who are bravest, when standing face to face with the enemy, will hesitate to take deliberate aim at a single man from an ambush. I therefore permitted Grant to escape, although I knew it was better for my cause to slay him than would be the loss of many hundreds less important soldiers. Indeed, had Grant fallen before my pistol, the great battle of Shiloh might have had a far different termination; for his loss would have so completed the demoralization of the Federals, that another rally would, in all probability, have been an impossibility. To have shot him, as I at first intended to do, would almost certainly have insured my own destruction; for large numbers of the Federals were so near me that I could plainly hear them talking, and escape would have been almost out of the question. I would, however, have been willing to have made a sacrifice of myself, had I not been influenced in the course I did by other considerations than those of prudence. At any rate, I permitted my opportunity to slip by unimproved, and ere a great many moments the boat and its occupants were out of my reach, and I saw the two generals go on board one of the gunboats.

After I got back to my camp I could not help thinking that I had committed an error; but on reflecting over the matter in cooler moments, I was not sorry that I had resisted the temptation to pull the trigger when I had my finger on it. If I had fired, what would have been the consequences, so far as the results of the war were concerned? The Federals would have lost their ablest general, almost at the beginning of his career. Would they have found another man who would have commanded their armies with the brilliant success that Grant did? These are momentous questions, when we think of the events that have occurred since the battle of Shiloh. Much more than the life of a single man was probably dependent upon whether I concluded to fire or not, as I pointed my pistol at the men in the boat that April night.

After the boat had passed by, I was strongly tempted to go to the Federal camp and announce myself as a deserter, taking my chances of being able to get back again, or, at least, to give the slip before many hours, should my sincerity be suspected, and a close watch be put over me. This, however, I thought rather too risky a proceeding, under all the circumstances, and therefore concluded to get back to my post again. I succeeded in doing this, although not without considerable difficulty; and not caring to let my comrade know all that I had seen and thought, I told him that my errand had been an unsuccessful one, as I had not been able to get near enough to the Federal lines to discover anything of importance. To insure his keeping quiet, I said that I would go and get him a drink of that whiskey I had promised him, which made his eyes sparkle with delight, and started off to inform my captain with regard to what I had found out, and to ask his advice about what I had better do.

What Had Best Be Done?

Captain De Caulp was seriously perplexed at my report; but he said that attempting to instruct the general of an army was a risky business, and the probabilities were, that should I go to headquarters with my story, I would get into serious trouble. He further suggested that, perhaps, the general was as well informed with regard to the movements of the enemy as myself, if not better, and was making his arrangements accordingly; all of which did not relieve my mind of its premonitions of impending disaster, although it convinced me that, for my own sake, I had better hold my tongue. In spite of everything, however, it was as much as I could do to refrain from attempting to let Beauregard know how matters were, and of running all the risks of his displeasure. I finally came to the conclusion that the responsibilities were his, and not mine, and I had no fancy for being put under arrest, and of ruining all my future prospects by going through with my New Orleans experiences again, under circumstances that would almost inevitably expose me to indignities worse even than those I had suffered at the hands of his honor Mayor Monroe.

I accordingly reluctantly concluded to wait and see what the result of the next day's battle would be, declaring energetically to Captain De Caulp, that if we were defeated, I would never raise my sword in the army of Tennessee again.

I knew that there would be some hot work in the morning, whatever the final result of the battle might be, and felt the necessity of getting what rest I could, if I was to do a soldier's whole duty. Wrapping myself in my blanket, therefore, I threw myself upon the ground, and tried to sleep; but I was so agitated and apprehensive for the morrow, that slumber was an impossibility. Again and again as I tossed about, unable to close my eyes, I more than half repented of my resolution not to report the result of my spying expedition at headquarters; but being convinced not only of the inutility, but the danger to myself, of such a proceeding, refrained from doing so. Several times I fell into an uneasy doze, but the sound and refreshing slumbers that I so sorely needed would not visit my weary eyelids, and daybreak found me as wide awake as ever, but certainly not fit to endure the fatigues and perils of a fierce battle in such a manner as to do myself any credit. I resolved, however, although I felt that we were rushing on defeat, to face every danger, and endure every trial with the bravest and most enduring of my comrades, so long as the slightest hope of success remained, and if finally defeat seemed inevitable, to make off with what speed I could for the purpose of trying my luck in some other quarter.

Commencement Of The Second Day's Battle.

At daylight the gunboats began to fire more rapidly than they had been doing during the night, and with such admirable execution that a prompt attack upon the part of the Confederates was rendered impossible. The second day of the battle, therefore, opened favorably for the Federals, and we lost the advantage we might have gained by assuming the offensive, and hurling our forces on the enemy, with that elan for which our Southern soldiers were famous, and which had served them so well on many important occasions. The opportunity thus lost was never regained; for although the fortunes of the fight seemed to waver, it was easily to be seen that victory was no longer with the Confederates, and that the grievous mistake of the night before, in not promptly following up our success, and finishing our work then and there, would have all the terrible consequences I had feared.

The Federal general, Nelson, formed his troops in line of battle on our extreme left, and threw out his skirmishers for over a mile. Our whole force was soon engaged; but the Federals steadily advanced, and we were compelled to retire before them, our worn and exhausted men fighting desperately as they went. About ten o'clock we succeeded in making the cover of a woods, which enabled us to rally with effect, and our forces were hurled against the enemy with such fury, that they began to retreat in disorder; but, being supported by re-enforcements, they were ultimately able to hold their ground.

About this time a heavy cannonading commenced, and the battle began to assume the phase of an artillery duel. On our side, Terril's battery did excellent service, and succeeded in holding the enemy at bay, giving the infantry a breathing spell that they sorely needed. For more than two hours the artillery and musketry fire continued at short range; and the Confederates kept up to their work in such gallant style, that the enemy wavered again, and one grand charge might have routed them. Before such a charge could be made, however, heavy re-enforcements arrived, under the command of General Buell, as I understood; and these fresh troops, formed by brigades, attacked us at double-quick, and drove us back half a mile, breaking our lines, and throwing us into inextricable confusion.


By two o'clock, the whole of this part of the field was cleared, and the battle was practically lost to the Confederates, although the fighting was obstinately continued elsewhere for an hour or two longer.

All my worst anticipations had come true; and the Federal army, which was almost annihilated the night before, had not only saved itself; and recovered its lost ground, but it had inflicted upon the Confederates a most disastrous defeat. This was the only name for it, for we were worse beaten than the Federals were at Bull Run; and the fact that we were not pursued on our retreat, only proved that the Federal commanders, like our own at Bull Run, were either incapable of appreciating the importance of vigorous action under such circumstances, or were unable to follow up their advantages.

When I saw clearly that the day was lost, I determined to leave the field, and half resolved that if I succeeded in getting well away from our beaten army, I would give the whole thing up, and never strike another blow for the Confederacy as a soldier. I was scarcely able to contain myself for rage, not at the defeat, but at the inexcusable blunder that caused it; and was worked up to such a pitch, that I felt willing to die, as if there was nothing now worth living for. The Fort Donelson disaster, which I had hoped would be retrieved, had now been followed by another even more terrible; and the success of the Confederate cause was more remote, and more uncertain, than ever. It made me gnash my teeth with impotent fury to think of these things, and to have all my high hopes so suddenly dashed to the ground, just when the prospects for their realization seemed so bright.

A Valuable Prize.

About five o'clock I found my boy near the hospital. He had my horse, and another fine animal that he had picked up. In reply to my query, Bob said that he had found him in the woods without a rider. He was branded "U. S," and had an officer's saddle on; and as he seemed, from outside appearances, to be superior to my own steed, I concluded to take possession of him. Mounting him, I tried him over a fence, and a large log, which he cleared like an antelope; so deeming him a prize worth securing, I turned over my own horse to Bob, and started him off on the road to Corinth. The boy, however, mistook the road, and went plump into the Federal camp at Purdy, thus depriving me of his valuable services.

As for me, I remained in the woods all night, the roads being perfectly blocked up with the retreating army, trying to shield myself as best I could from the furious storm of rain and hail that came on, as if to add to the miseries which the wretched soldiers of the Confederacy were compelled to endure on their weary march back to Corinth. Although I had escaped from the two days' fighting unhurt, I was so utterly worn out and wretched, that I really did not care a great deal what became of me, and was almost as willing to be taken prisoner by the Federals as to return to Corinth, with a view of again undertaking to exert myself in what was now beginning to appear the hopeless cause of Southern independence. I managed, however, after the worst of the storm was over, to find a tolerably dry place, where, completely used up by the fatigues I had undergone, I fell into a sound sleep.


The Morning after the Battle of Shiloh. — My Return to Camp. — A Letter from my Memphis Lady-love. — A sad Case. — My Boy Bob missing. — I start out to Search for him. — A runaway Horse, and a long Tramp through the Mud. — Return to the Battle-field. — Horrible Scenes along the road. — Out on a scouting Expedition. — Burying the Dead. — I receive a severe Wound. — A long and painful Ride back to Camp. — My Wound dressed by a Surgeon, and my Sex discovered. — A Fugitive. — Arrival at Grand Junction. — Crowd of anxious Inquirers. — Off for New Orleans. — Stoppages at Grenada, Jackson, and Osyka on Account of my Wound. — The Kindness of Friends. — Fresh Attempt to reach New Orleans. — Unsatisfactory Appearance of the military Situation. — The Passage of the Forts by the Federal Fleet. — A new Field of Employment opened for me. — I resume the Garments of my Sex.

RESTED, but scarcely refreshed, by a brief slumber on the damp ground, and with thoughts of the most gloomy description filling my mind, I mounted my horse at daybreak and started to ride back to Corinth. I was in rather different spirits from what I was two days before, when, inspired by brilliant hopes, and full of confidence that with this, the first great battle of the spring campaign, the disasters of the winter would be more than repaired, and that our Confederate army was about to enter upon a career of victory which would, most likely, long before the ending of the summer, establish our independence, I had hastened to the field, eager only to be able to join in the fight in time to have a chance of distinguishing myself before the Federals should be completely wiped out. The attack was, indeed, made as brilliantly and as successfully as I had anticipated that it would be, and at the end of a hard day's fighting, victory was fairly within our grasp. At the end of another day, however, we were a broken and disorganized mass of fugitives, straggling back to our camps, and thinking ourselves lucky that the Federals were not enterprising enough to pursue us before we could reach our intrenchments.

There was a hope, indeed, that we would be able to hold Corinth, and , by inducing the Federals to attack us in our fortifications, regain something of the advantage we had lost. The defeat, therefore, bad as it was, was not so desperate an overthrow as the one at Fort Donelson; but, although I felt this, and felt that if we could but hold our ground a little while all might be well, I was so despondent over the way things seemed to be going, that I had little heart to continue in the contest any longer. At the same time I was loath to give the thing up, and could not help reflecting that the true spirit of heroism required me to bear adversity with fortitude, and to seek to advance the interests of my cause, no matter how unpropitious the times might seem.

Reflections After The Battle.

I was more than ever anxious now, however, to enter upon the line of duty for which I esteemed myself particularly fitted; for, now that the excitement of the battle-field was over, and defeat once more compelled reflection, I could not help thinking that I was doing no very material service by plunging into the thick of a fight, as much for the enjoyment of the thing as anything else, whereas I could be worth many soldiers to the Confederacy if intrusted with certain duties of equal responsibility and danger, which I could perform much better than any man. How to obtain an assignment to this kind of duty, however, was what puzzled me, and it really almost seemed that a first-rate opportunity of distinguishing myself as a secret service emissary would never be offered.

Resolving in my own mind all manner of plans for the future, but unable to determine what my next move had better be, I made my way back to camp feeling, as I reflected on my brilliant expectations of a few days before, as if I were returning from a fool's errand, although I cannot say that I was sorry on account of having taken a hand in the fight, for throughout the two days I had borne myself as gallantly as the best, while simply as a personal adventure, the battle was a memorable affair for more reasons than one. It was at least something for me to have stood by the side of my expected husband throughout the long and bloody contest, and to have given him proofs of my valorous disposition, such as he could scarcely help remembering, with pleasure, in the future, when he learned that the little independent lieutenant, and the woman who was engaged as his wife, were one and the same person. So far, at least, my participation in the battle was a source of satisfaction to me, although it did not diminish my distress at so soon again being called upon to witness another hard-fought field lost to the Confederacy.

A Love Letter.

On arriving at camp I found a mail awaiting me. Among my letters were some from my friends in the army of Virginia, and one from my little Memphis lady, which read as follows: —

"Memphis, Tennessee, April 2. 1862.

"My Dear Harry: Yours was handed to me the next morning by our trusty and faithful old servant David, and I hastily opened it, knowing it to be from you by the handwriting. My dear, I am afraid that this will appear unintelligible, being wet with tears from beginning to end. When your letter was handed to me we were at breakfast, and grandpa was reading the "Appeal," wherein it was stated that all officers and soldiers away from their commands should report for duty. I was afraid that you would have to go, but some hope remained until your fatal letter convinced me that my suspicions were too well founded. Alas, how vain are human expectations! In the morning we dream of happiness, and before evening are really miserable. I was promising to myself that one month more would have joined our hands, and now we are to be separated — yes, perhaps for years, if not forever; for how do I know but that the next tidings may bring intelligence of your being killed in battle, and then, farewell to everything in this world; my prospects of a happy future will vanish, and although unmarried, I will ever remain the widow Buford until death.

"And is it possible my dear Harry can doubt for one moment of my sincerity; or do you think that these affections can ever be placed on another, which were first fixed upon your dear self, from a convincing sense of your accomplishments and merit? No, dear Harry, my fidelity to you shall remain as unspotted as this paper was before it was blotted with ink and bedewed with tears. I know not how others love, but my engagements are for eternity. You desire me to remind you of your duty. My dear, I know not of any faults, nor am I disposed to look for any. I doubt not that the religious education you have received in your youth will enable you to resist the strongest temptations, and make that everlasting honor to the army, Lieutenant Buford, although not afraid to fight, yet afraid to sin. However terrifying it may be to meet death in the field, yet it is far more awful to appear before a just God, whom we have offended by our iniquities. There are no persons in the world accused more of irreligion than the military, while from the very nature of their employment none are more obliged to practise every Christian duty. They see thousands of their fellow-beings hurried into eternity without a moment's warning, nor do they know but that the next day they may themselves meet the same fate. My dear Harry, never be ashamed of religion; a consciousness of your own integrity will inspire you with courage in the day of battle, and if you should at last die in defence of the right in your country's cause, the Divine favor will be your comfort through eternity. In the mean time my prayers shall be constantly for your safety and your preservation in the day of battle, and my earnest hopes will be fixed upon your happy return.

"I will visit my aunt this fall in Alabama; she being your friend, will be some consolation to me in your absence. Let me hear from you as soon as possible, and as often, and never doubt my fidelity: consider me yours already, and I am satisfied. I hung your handsome picture opposite to mine in the drawing-room, over where we used to sit and chat together. Grandpa says that it does not flatter you, as we were both lovesick. What ideas the old folks do get into their heads, just as if they had never loved in their time. I have not seen the captain since; I think that his command is ordered away.

"Farewell, dear Harry, and may the wisdom of God direct you, and His all-wise providence be your guard. This is the sincere prayer of one who prefers you before all the world. Grandpa and auntie wish to be remembered to you kindly. I wrote to brother that you would hand him a letter.

"Your loving intended till death,


I give this as a favorable specimen of the love-letters I was in the habit of receiving during my military career, and I have the less hesitation in doing so as it is one that no woman need be ashamed of having written. I could not help laughing a

little as I read it, and yet I felt really sorry for the writer, and reproached myself for having permitted my flirtation with her to go to the length it did. The case was a particularly sad one, for the reason that the man who loved her devotedly, and who would doubtless in time have succeeded in curing her of her misplaced affections for the fictitious Lieutenant Buford, was among the slain at Shiloh. There was no braver soldier belonging to the Confederate army engaged in that bloody battle than Phil. Hastings, and his death was doubly a source of regret to me, as by it I lost a warm-hearted and sincere friend, and also an opportunity to undo the wrong I had unwittingly done him through capturing the affections of the girl he loved, by endeavoring to make matters right between him and her.

At the time of the receipt of this letter, however, I had something of more pressing importance to think of than explanations with Miss M. My boy had not put in an appearance, and suspecting that he must have lost himself, I started out to search for him; but, although I made diligent inquiry, I could not obtain any intelligence of him. This vexed me extremely, for Bob had become an invaluable servant, being very handy and entirely trustworthy, and I felt that he would be indispensable to me in the movement I now had more than half determined to make, with a view of trying to win the favors of Fortune in a somewhat new field of action.

My Horse Gets Away.

To make matters worse, when about five miles from Corinth my horse broke from me, and stampeding out of sight, left me to get back the best way I could. I was now in a pretty fix, with scarcely any money about me, and with miles of terribly rough and muddy roads to traverse before I could regain my quarters. There was nothing, however, to do but to bear up under my misfortunes as bravely as possible, and so plunging through the mud, I tried to make my way back to Corinth with what rapidity I could.

The first camp I made was that of the eleventh Louisiana regiment, in which I had a number of friends. The Louisiana boys imagined that I had just come from Memphis, and they gave me a very hearty welcome, although they were not feeling particularly good over the result of the battle. Obtaining a horse from the quartermaster, I started back to the battle-field

field in company with Captain G. Merrick Miller, who desired to bury the dead of his company.

The Battle-Field Revisited.

The road was lined with stragglers, many of them suffering from severe wounds, who were slowly making their way back to their respective camps, and as we reached the scene of the late action the most ghastly sight met our eyes. The ground was thickly strewn with dead men and horses, arms and accoutrements were scattered about in every direction, wagons were stuck in the mud and abandoned, and other abundant evidences of the sanguinary nature of the conflict were perceptible to our eyes. I could face the deadliest fire without flinching, but I could not bear to look at these things, and so, after having made a number of vain inquiries for Bob, I rode back to camp, and said good-by to my Louisiana friends, leaving them under the impression that I intended to take the train.

This I probably might have done had I not fallen in with some cavalry who were about starting out on scouting duty, and been tempted to accompany them. This was the kind of work that I had a particular liking for; and as I had no definite plan for the immediate future arranged, and was desirous of finding Bob before leaving Corinth or its neighborhood, I concluded to try whether a little cavalry service would not be productive of some adventure worth participating in. An adventure of importance in its influence on my future career, sure enough, it did bring me, although it was not exactly what I anticipated or desired.

Burying The Dead.

It was about dark when we set out, and we spent the night hovering about in the neighborhood of the enemy, but without anything noteworthy occurring. The next day we had a little brush with a party of Federals, and after the exchange of a few shots were compelled to retreat. After this, we came across some dead men belonging to the tenth Tennessee regiment in the woods. Carefully removing the bodies to a field near by, we put them in a potato bin, and with a hoe, which was the only implement we could find suited to our purpose, we covered them, as well as we were able, with earth.

While engaged in this melancholy duty, the enemy were occasionally firing shells in different directions, apparently feeling for us. We paid no special attention to them, as the Federals seemed to be firing at random, and, so far as we could judge, did not notice our party. Soon, however, a shrapnel burst in our midst, killing a young fellow instantly, and wounding me severely in the arm and shoulder.

I Am Severely Wounded.

I was thrown to the ground, and stunned with the suddenness of the thing. One of the soldiers picked me up, and stood me on my feet, saying, "Are you hurt?"

"No, not bad," I replied, in a vague sort of way, but my whole system was terribly shocked, and I felt deathly sick. Before a great many moments, however, I perfectly recovered my consciousness, and by a resolute effort of will, endeavored to bear up bravely. I found, however, that I was unable to use my right arm, and soon the wound began to pain me terribly.

The soldier who had picked me up, seeing that I was too badly hurt to help myself, lifted me on my horse, and started back to camp with me. It was a long ride, of nearly fifteen miles, and I thought that it would never come to an end. Every moment the pain increased in intensity, and if my horse jolted or stumbled a little, I experienced the most excruciating agony. My fortitude began to give way before the terrible physical suffering I was compelled to endure; all my manliness oozed out long before I reached camp, and my woman's nature asserted itself with irresistible force. I could face deadly peril on the battle-field without flinching, but this intolerable pain overcame me completely, and I longed to be where there would be no necessity for continuing my disguise, and where I could obtain shelter, rest, and attention as a woman. My pride, however, and a fear of consequences, prevented me from revealing my sex, and I determined to preserve my secret as long as it was possible to do so, hoping soon to reach some place where I could be myself again with impunity.

By the time we reached camp my hand and arm were so much swollen, that my conductor found it necessary to rip the sleeve of my coat in order to get at the wound for the purpose of bathing it in cold water. The application of the water

was a slight relief, but the hurt was too serious a one for such treatment to be of permanent service, so an ambulance was procured, and I was taken to the railroad and put on the train bound South. The cars stopped at Corinth for two hours, and, feeling the necessity for some medical attendance as soon as possible, I sent for a young surgeon whom I knew intimately, and telling him that I was wounded severely, asked him to try and do something to relieve my suffering.

My Sex Discovered.

He immediately examined my arm, and, as I perceived by the puzzled expression that passed over his face, he was beginning to suspect something, and guessing that further concealment would be useless, I told him who I really was. I never saw a more astonished man in my life. The idea of a woman engaging in such an adventure, and receiving such an ugly hurt, appeared to shock him extremely, and he declared that he would not take the responsibility of performing an operation, but would send for Dr. S. This frightened me, for I had witnessed some specimens of that surgeon's method of dealing with wounded soldiers, and I insisted that he was too barbarous, and that he should not touch me. He then proposed to send for Dr. H., but I objected to this also, and finally, at my urgent solicitation, he consented to make a careful examination himself, and try what he could do.

My shoulder was found to be out of place, my arm cut, and my little finger lacerated — a disagreeable and exceedingly painful, but not necessarily a very dangerous wound. The surgeon applied a dressing, and put my arm in a sling, after which I felt a great deal more comfortable, although the pain was still intense; and he then endeavored to induce me to stop at Corinth until I was in better condition for travelling. Now, however, that my sex was discovered, I was more than ever anxious to get away from my old associates, in the hope of finding some place where I could remain until I got well, and able to commence operations again in a different locality, without being annoyed by the attentions of impertinently curious people. I therefore insisted upon pushing on to Grenada, and he, finding that argument was useless, and, perhaps, appreciating my reasons for getting away as soon as possible, very kindly went and procured transportation papers for me, and before the information that a woman, disguised as

an officer, was among the wounded on the train, we were, to my infinite satisfaction, speeding out of sight, leaving behind us the camp occupied by a defeated army. The thought that our brave army should be resting under the cloud of a most humiliating defeat was a mental torture, which even my intense physical suffering could not pacify, and I was heartily glad to be able to take myself off from a locality which had so many unpleasant associations.

While on the train I suffered a great deal, although I was as well cared for as circumstances would permit, and it was an immense relief when we reached Grand Junction, for the hotel proprietor there was an old and true friend of mine, and I felt sure of receiving from him all the attention it was in his power to bestow. I found, however, that it was almost an impossibility to get any accommodation whatever, on account of the crowds of people who filled the place. The wives and other relatives of officers and soldiers had come to await the result of the battle; and as the news that the Confederate army had been defeated had preceded me, every thing was in confusion, and everybody plunged in the deepest grief.

Waiting For The Loved Ones.

Some of the waiting ones had already received their wounded friends, or the corpses of the slain, while others were nearly wild with anxiety on account of husbands, or brothers, or lovers who had not yet been heard from. Alas! many of them were being stretched, stark and stiff, on the bloody field at Shiloh, where they had bravely fought for the cause they loved.

I was asked a thousand questions about the battle, and was pressed with a thousand anxious interrogatories about particular persons, and endeavored to answer as well as I could, notwithstanding the pain which my wounded arm and shoulder caused. Many of the women could not prevail upon themselves to believe that the Confederate army had been again defeated, and indulged in the fiercest invectives against the invaders. The intense grief of these stricken people affected me even more than the terrible scenes incident to the battle and the retreat, and, as I was not in a fit condition to endure anything more of anguish, and as it seemed to be impossible to obtain a room where I could be quiet and free from intrusion, I determined to push on to Grenada, without more delay,

although I was anything but able to endure the excitement and discomfort of several hours' ride by rail.

Having reached Grenada, I took a good rest by remaining there for two days, and was greatly benefited thereby, for rest and an opportunity to cool off from the excitement I was in, were what I particularly needed if I expected to make satisfactory progress with the healing of my wound. I was visited by a great many of the ladies of the place, who presented me with bouquets, delicacies of various kinds, and bandages for my wound, and who otherwise overwhelmed me with attentions, for which I hope I was duly grateful. Not only the natural restlessness of my disposition, which my wound aggravated to such an extent that it was an impossibility for me to keep quiet, but a desire to get as far away from the army of Tennessee as possible, before the fact that Lieutenant Harry T. Buford was a woman became generally known, induced me to move on with all the speed I could make, and I consequently started for New Orleans before I was really fit to travel. The result was, that when I reached Jackson, I found myself too ill to proceed farther, and was compelled, much against my will, to make another stop.

The hospitalities I received at Jackson, I will always remember with the warmest feelings of gratitude. I was really very sick, and my wounded shoulder and arm were terribly inflamed, and I scarcely know what I should have done had not a widow lady and her daughter taken a fancy to me, and waited on me until I was able to be on the road again. These ladies treated me like a young lord, and I shall ever think of them as having placed me under a debt that I can never repay.

At Jackson, I made the acquaintance of General Price's quartermaster, who was stationed there. This gentleman I afterwards met in Wyoming Territory, but he did not recognize me, as, indeed, it was scarcely possible that he should.

On The Move Again.

So soon as I thought myself able to endure the fatigues of travel, I insisted upon being on the move in spite of the remonstrances of my friends, and made another start for New Orleans. I had, however, miscalculated my strength, and was compelled to make another halt at Osyka, near the Louisiana line. At this place resided one of the best friends I ever had

in the world. He is, in truth, one of Nature's noblemen, and I wish that our country had more like him. My fervent prayer is, that he may have long life, health, and abundant prosperity, and that every blessing may be showered upon him and his family. With this kind friend I remained a couple of days, and was treated with the greatest kindness, a kindness that would scarcely permit of my departure, when, feeling in better health and spirits than I had been since the battle, I announced my intention of continuing my journey. Resisting all importunities to make a longer stay, however, I insisted upon going, and stepped on board the train bound for New Orleans, determined to reach that city this time at all hazards.

By this time my wound was healing quite nicely; and although it pained me considerably still, the feverishness which had attended it was gone, and I began to feel myself once more, and with restored health began to busy myself in making plans for the future. Exactly what course next to pursue I could not quite determine, but I felt very confident that if I once reached New Orleans, and could prevent myself from being interfered with by my old friends, the provost marshal and Mayor Monroe I would very soon find some congenial employment.

On the train there were a great many wounded men, some of them old friends of mine whom I was glad to meet with again. The trip, therefore, was a pleasant one in some respects, notwithstanding its melancholy aspects, and we had a tolerably lively time discussing the late battle, and the chances of the Confederates being able to make headway in the future against the force which the Federals were bringing against them in every direction. We were obliged to acknowledge that the outlook was not a particularly promising one, and more than one expressed the belief that New Orleans would be the next object of attack. There was a good deal of confidence felt, however, that a Federal advance against the Gulf city, if it should be attempted, would be repulsed in a manner, that would, in some degree, compensate for the Confederate defeats at Fort Donelson and Shiloh. This confidence, on the part of my companions, I was scarcely able to share, for, not only had my late experiences shaken my belief in the invincibility of the Confederate army, but I knew better than they did that the Federals intended to assail New Orleans, and I felt very certain, that if the assault

was made, it would be with a force that our people would find well-nigh irresistible. I, however, kept my thoughts to myself, but resolved that so soon as we arrived in the city, I would exert myself with a view of obtaining a full understanding of the situation, and decide according to circumstances what course it would be best for me to pursue.

Back In New Orleans.

In New Orleans I met a number of old friends, James Doolan, Frank Moore, Captain Daugherty, and others, all of whom were first-rate fellows, and all quite certain that in case the Federals should put in an appearance, they would be given a warmer reception than they bargained for. I admired their enthusiasm, although I was not as well able to share it as I would perhaps have been some months before, and I resolved to see for myself, as much as I was able, exactly what the defences of the city amounted to. I accordingly went about the camps as much as I could, in a quiet sort of way, making mental notes of all I observed, and I very soon came to the conclusion that the military situation was one that I did not like a bit. I knew, however, that the river defences were strong, and I hoped, rather than expected, that they would be able to repel any attack that would be made.

I was not long, however, in concluding that New Orleans would be a good place for me to go away from at as early a day as possible, for I had no notion of witnessing another triumph of the enemy if I could help it. I was, however, far from being strong enough to go on active duty, and thought that the best thing I could do was to remain where I was until my health was entirely restored, and to employ this enforced leisure in maturing a definite plan of action for the future, for, with returning health, my desire for active employment, either in the field or on detective duty, returned with all its original force, and I could not induce myself to entertain the idea of resuming permanently the garments of my sex, and of abandoning the service of the Confederacy so long as there was any work to be done.

When the news came that the Federal fleet had passed Forts Jackson and St. Philip, I at first thought of leaving as quickly as I could; but a little reflection induced me to change my mind, for I saw clearly that if the Federals took possession of the city, I would, as a woman, have a grand field of

operation. I therefore resolved to remain and see the thing out, and the uniform of Lieutenant Harry T. Buford was carefully put away for future use if need be, and the wearer thereof assumed the garments of a non-combatant feminine for the purpose of witnessing the entry of the victors into the captured city.


Capture of Island No. 10. — The impending Attack on New Orleans. — The unsatisfactory Military Situation. — Confidence of Everybody in the River Defences. — My Apprehensions of Defeat. — The Fall of New Orleans. — Excitement in the City on the News of the Passage of the Forts being received. — I resolve to abandon the Career of a Soldier, and to resume the Garments of my own Sex. Appearance of the Fleet opposite the City. — Immense Destruction of Property. — My Congratulations to Captain Bailey of the Navy. — Mayor Monroe's Refusal to raise the Federal Flag. — General Butler assumes Command of the City. — Butler's Brutality. — I procure the foreign Papers of an English Lady, and strike up an Acquaintance with the Provost Marshal. — Am introduced to other Officers, and through them gain Access to Headquarters. — Colonel Butler furnishes me with the necessary Passes to get through the Lines. — I drive an active Trade in Drugs and Confederate Money while carrying Information to and fro. — Preparations for a grand final Speculation in Confederate Money. — I am intrusted with a Despatch for the "Alabama," and am started for Havana.

FOLLOWING close upon the defeat at Shiloh came the fall of Island No. 10, a disaster of great moment to the Confederacy, for the strength of its fortifications had been much relied upon to check the advance of the Federals down the Mississippi River; and the loss of the position almost simultaneously with the Shiloh affair was well calculated to inspire gloomy apprehensions for the future. I heard the news that Island No. 10 had been captured, after reaching New Orleans, and the fact that the enemy had been successful in forcing so strong a defence with comparative ease, taken in connection with the radical inefficiency of many of the military preparations being made for the defence of the city, prevented me from sharing the extreme confidence so many people expressed, and that so many undoubtedly felt, with regard to the entire safety of New Orleans. If a strong fort like Island No. 10 could be taken, why should not the Federals, especially if they made the attack with a proper vigor, be able to overcome any resistance the defences of New Orleans — in many respects not by any means so strong — would be able to make?

Exactly when or where the blow would be struck, however, it was impossible to tell. The general impression was that the attack would be made by the army under General Butler, and how really formidable the Federal fleet was, few, if any, had any real notion. I suppose that scarcely any one imagined the ships would make an unsupported effort to pass the fortifications below the city, or that they would succeed in doing so in case the attempt was made. I knew little or nothing about the river defences, or the preparations that were being made to receive a naval attack, from my own observations, but from what I understood with regard to them, I felt tolerably assured of their efficiency, and my chief concern was about the inefficiency of the measures adopted to resist a land attack.

The Federal Fleet Passes The Fort.

The Federal fleet, however, to the surprise of every one, succeeded in overcoming the obstructions in the river, and in passing the two principal forts, after a desperate battle, and then New Orleans was at the mercy of the naval gunners, specimens of whose methods of fighting had been exhibited to me at Fort Donelson and Shiloh in such a manner as to inspire me with a wholesome dislike for the kind of missiles they were in the habit of throwing. The gunboats I had encountered at Fort Donelson and Shiloh were, however, very different affairs from the ships which fought their way past Forts Jackson and St. Philip, — a broadside from a frigate like the Hartford ought almost to have routed an entire army; and when I saw these splendid vessels appearing off the levee, I began to have a greater respect for the power of the Federal government than I had had before, and a greater appreciation of the weakness of the Confederacy.

But while I was thus compelled to appreciate more forcibly than I had done the enormous difficulties in the way of a successful termination of the contest, I was no more in a mood for surrendering than I was at the beginning. Indeed, defeat and disaster only nerved me to make greater exertions than ever, and I held in utter contempt those weak-hearted people who, when the news that the fleet had passed the forts and was on its way up to the city reached us, were willing to regard the game for which they were playing as lost, and the Confederate cause as practically overthrown. I was for fighting the thing out so long as we had a foot of ground to fight on, but I saw very clearly that if anything was to be gained now, in the face of the heavy disasters that were overtaking us, stratagem as well as force would have to be called into play, and that we would be compelled to combat the enemy's strength with cunning.

I Determine To Figure Again As A Woman.

I felt particularly that the time was now come for me to make a display of my talents in another character than that of a warrior, and the arrival of the fleet in front of the city found me in the anxious and angry crowd on the levee, not inelegantly attired in the appropriate garments of my sex — garments that I had not worn for so long that they felt strangely unfamiliar, although I was not altogether displeased at having a fair opportunity to figure once more as a woman, if only for variety sake.

Strange to say, the capture of New Orleans did not affect me near so unpleasantly as the defeats at Fort Donelson and Shiloh, and I felt nothing of the depression of spirit that overcame me after these battles. This may have been because I was getting accustomed to defeat now, and was consequently able to bear up under it more philosophically, although it is more than probable that it was because I was not one of the combatants, and consequently did not have that overpowering individual interest that a combatant must feel if he cares anything for his cause. I experienced less of that peculiarly disagreeable feeling of personal chagrin and disappointment that oppresses a soldier belonging to a beaten army. The fact, however, that when the Federals obtained possession of the city I would probably be able to do some detective duty in a style that would not only be satisfying to my own ambition, but damaging to the enemy, and of essential service to the Confederacy, really enabled me to behold the approach of the fleet with a considerable degree of what almost might be called satisfaction. As a woman, and especially as a woman who had facilities for appearing as a representative of either sex, I knew that I would be able to observe the enemies movements, and ferret out their plans in a signally advantageous manner; and, confident that my cunning and skill would enable me to perform an important work, I was really anxious to see the enemy occupy the city, in order that I might try conclusions with them, having ample confidence that I would prove myself a match for the smartest Yankee of them all.

I was the more willing to try and distinguish myself in a new field, as I had amply demonstrated to my own satisfaction, and to that of thousands of the best fighting men of the Confederate armies, that I lacked nothing of the valorous disposition of a soldier, and that I could stand without flinching before the hottest fire of the enemy, and I aspired to win fresh laurels by performing services of a kind that would require an exertion of all my intellectual faculties, and that would, if I were to be even reasonably successful, bring me more real credit, and more enduring fame, than almost any performances in the field that I might undertake. After nearly a year of service, I was just beginning to appreciate the fact that I occupied a unique position, and that my efforts would be almost profitless, alike to me and to the Confederate cause, if I was content merely to figure as an additional combatant when the actual clash of battle came; and while I did not regret, for a great variety of reasons, my experiences in the field, I was very well satisfied to abandon, for a while at least, a soldier's life for the purpose of undertaking work more naturally congenial than campaigning, and for which my sex, combined with my soldierly training, peculiarly fitted me. My experimental trip to Washington satisfied me that it was as a detective, rather than as a soldier, that my best successes were to be won; and now that one of my most important surmises, based upon almost the barest hints obtained on that trip, was proven to have been well founded, I was inspired by a special zeal to carry out intentions which I had been revolving in my mind ever since my visit to the Federal capital. These intentions I had intended to carry out long before, and had I accepted the invitation to return to Virginia, which I received some time before the battle of Fort Donelson, I doubtless would, long ere this, have been actively employed in passing through the Federal lines in search of information. The acceptance of that invitation was, however, delayed, and finally abandoned, and circumstances prevented my making a very serious effort to become an active attaché of the detective corps up to the date of the fall of New Orleans. With the capture of that city, however, I concluded that my great opportunity had come, and that now it depended upon myself, rather than upon the favor or whim of some commanding officer, whether I should give the cause the benefit of my best talents or not. The opportunity I embraced with the utmost eagerness, and with a resolve to make myself as troublesome as possible to the conquerors of New Orleans.

General Lovell, who was in command, so soon as he saw that the fleet had passed the forts, posted up to the city in hot haste, and began to make preparations for leaving, and for destroying all the cotton and other property that would be likely to be particularly useful to the enemy. The wildest excitement prevailed when it was understood that New Orleans was about to fall into the hands of the Federals, and great wrath and indignation were excited by what was believed to be the inefficiency of the defence. Without waiting to argue the matter, however, with the angry citizens, General Lovell turned over the responsibility of making terms with the victors to Mayor Monroe, and got away with the remnant of his army as fast as he was able.

The Fleet Appears Off The City.

Late in the morning of the 25th of April, 1862, the Federal fleet could be seen coming up the river, but it must have dampened the enthusiasm of the Yankee sailors somewhat to find steamboats, cotton, and all kinds of combustible property blazing for miles along the levee. It was a terribly magnificent spectacle, but one the like of which I earnestly hoped I might never witness again, for it fairly made me shudder to see millions of dollars worth of property being utterly destroyed in this reckless manner, and it impressed me more strongly with an idea of the horrors of warfare than all the fighting and slaughter I had ever seen done. There seemed, however, to be no help for it, and General Lovell was probably justified in giving the order he did, and thereby diminishing the value of the prize which the Federals had won.

It was about one o'clock when the fleet came in front of the city, and the vessels, one by one, dropped their anchors. A demand for a surrender was brought on shore by Captain Bailey, who went up to the City Hall to have a conference with the mayor. I was on the alert to commence operations as soon as possible, and, desirous of being in favor with the captors, I

sought an opportunity to speak to Captain Bailey, and to welcome him to the city. He shook hands with me, and said that he would see me again; but he had no time for conversation just then, and as my object was accomplished by introducing myself to his notice as a pretended friend of his cause, I did not make any endeavor to further attract his attention.

Mayor Monroe behaved nobly when he was asked to surrender the city. He said that the city was without defence, and at the mercy of the conquerors, but that it was not within his province as a municipal officer to surrender. He declined to raise the United States flag over the public buildings, or to do anything that would seem a recognition of the right of the Federals in any way to regulate affairs in New Orleans by anything else than the law of force. When I read his reply to Farragut's demand for a surrender, I readily forgave my private grievance against him. The mayor having positively refused to have anything to do with displaying the United States flag, or with lowering the flag of Louisiana, the raising of the stars and stripes on the public buildings was done by the sailors from the Federal fleet.

Mumford Pulls Down The Flag From The Mint.

The United States flag which was raised upon the mint was pulled down again by Mumford, who paid the penalty of his life for the act after Butler took command of the city. The execution of this young man was an outrage on civilization, and a crime on the part of the man who ordered it which entitles his memory to execration. Mumford told me himself that he perpetrated the act through a mistaken idea that the flag had been displayed by some traitor, and that he was not aware at the time that the Federals had assumed control of the city. The execution of Mumford was a fair specimen of the many dastardly actions perpetrated by Butler during the reign of terror that he inaugurated, and that will cause his name to be remembered with hatred in New Orleans, and, indeed, throughout the whole South, long after the ordinary passions of the war have died out.

When Butler took command, which he did on May 1st, he issued orders stopping the circulation of Confederate currency, directing the people to resume their usual avocations, and giving everybody to understand that he intended to have his own way.

It is not necessary, in a merely personal narrative like this, to go into any details with regard to Butler's rule in New Orleans. The execution of Mumford for what, according to the worst construction that could be put upon it, was a very venial offense, and what in reality was a mere act of indiscretion, utterly unworthy of notice, after the Federals were in full control of the city, and his infamous "woman order," are specimens of the manner in which he conducted himself, and they were acts that speak too loudly for themselves to require comment.

Plans For Circumventing Butler.

I soon perceived that with such a brute as this man Butler to deal with, it would be necessary for me to be extremely circumspect, and to bring my best strategic talents to bear, if I expected to accomplish anything. I was well acquainted with the city and environs, and knew exactly how to go about slipping in and out through the lines; but to carry on such operations as I proposed with a reasonable degree of safety and assurance of success, it was necessary — especially after the deposition of Mayor Monroe, by Buttery order, and the placing of the city under martial law — for me to keep all my wits about me, and to take care to be on good terms with those in authority.

I therefore set to work with due diligence and persistency to gain the confidence of the Federal officers. Some of them I found to be very pleasant, gentlemanly fellows, who were disposed to make themselves as agreeable as possible to everybody, and who were much gratified to hear any one — especially any woman — express Union sentiments. Many of them did not at all approve of the offensive manner in which Butler conducted himself, and some of his orders were carried out with a great deal of reluctance by those intrusted with their execution. With some of these officers I soon managed to get on very friendly terms, and they were always so polite and considerate in their treatment of myself and others, that I greatly regretted the necessity of deceiving them.

I, however, had objects in view with which my private friendships and personal feelings could not be permitted to interfere, and in all my conversations and communications with the officers of Butler's command, I never lost sight of opportunities to serve the Confederate cause. Following up

the line of policy I had determined upon when I introduced myself to Captain Bailey, I professed strong Union sentiments, and took occasion, whenever in the presence of officers or soldiers, to denounce the cause I loved, and the welfare of which I was so anxious to promote. This line of conduct had the desired effect, for I soon became known as one of the few stanch advocates of the Federal government in New Orleans, and not only secured myself from molestation. but gained the entire confidence of our new rulers. My Southern friends, who could not understand what I was driving at, were, of course, alienated from me, much to my regret and sorrow; but this could not be helped, for it was absolutely necessary, in a matter of this kind, that I should have no confidants, and should depend entirely upon myself. My secret, so long as I was the sole possessor of it, was safe, which it assuredly would not have been under such a system of espionage as that established by Butler, had I intrusted it to any one, or had I failed in the slightest particular to sustain the character of a devoted Unionist, which I had assumed. It was better for me to risk the temporary loss of my friends, in the hope and expectation that the vindication of my conduct would come with time, than to risk anything by an incautious word, or even look; and I accepted the consequences of a thorough performance of the duties I had assigned myself without hesitation, and with a resolute determination to give Butler as much annoyance as was in my power.

I Procure Some Foreign Papers.

I had a stroke of good luck in the very beginning. An English lady, with whom I had become slightly acquainted, was on the point of returning to her own country, having come to the conclusion that Old England was a quieter, and on the whole more agreeable place of residence, just at that time, than America, for a person who, like herself, had no interest in the contest that was being carried on, but who was pretty certain, if she remained, to suffer numerous inconveniences and hardships. This lady was decidedly friendly, however, to the Confederate cause, as, indeed, were all the foreign residents of New Orleans, and she would willingly have aided it in any way that she could without getting herself in trouble. As matters stood, however, she was anxious to get away as soon as possible, the capture of the city by the

Federals, with its attendant horrors, combined with a prospect that the Confederates would before long probably make a desperate attempt to regain it, not having the most soothing effect upon her nerves. Hearing that she was about to leave, I went to her, and expressed a desire to purchase her passport and other foreign papers, confident that, armed with such documents as these, I would be able to make a fair start against the Federal authorities, and gain some immediate advantages that would probably be otherwise out of the question. The lady readily consented to part with the papers for a fair price, being glad to get the money I offered for them, and she either believed, or affected to believe, the story which I told to account for my eagerness to possess them. There was, in fact, however, no particular necessity for romancing to any great extent on such a subject as this; for in the terror and confusion incident to the abandonment of the city by the Confederates and its occupation by the Federals, and in the great uncertainty with regard to what the near future would bring forth, it was the most natural thing in the world that a lone and unprotected woman like myself should desire to have the means at hand of escaping from any claims to allegiance that either party might present, and of invoking the protection of some foreign power.

A Talk With The Provost Marshal.

Armed with my British papers, I went to the office of the provost marshal for the purpose of striking up an acquaintance with that gentleman, he being the person it was most immediately important for me to have dealings with, and to gain the confidence of. On requesting an interview, I was ushered into the provost marshal's presence, and introducing myself to him under the name I had decided to assume, told him that I was heartily glad to welcome the army of the United States to New Orleans, and that I hoped this wretched contest would soon be at an end, and the stars and stripes acknowledged everywhere once more.

He seemed to be a little surprised, and even suspicious, at my warmth of manner, and giving me a rather keen look, which I bore without flinching, he asked me, with some brusqueness, but at the same time not impolitely, if I had taken the oath yet.

This was a rather delicate question, and as I had not, and

did not intend to take the oath he alluded to, I concluded to waive it, and avoid giving a direct answer. I therefore replied that I was a Northern woman, and that my father was a New Yorker, but that, being in New Orleans at the time of the establishment of the blockade, I had been unable to communicate with my friends at the North and in England, or to get away. This was all plausible enough, and the provost marshal accepted it as a genuine statement of my case, apparently without hesitation, although he did not let me off without some cross-questioning.

"Have you a family?" said he.

"No, sir," I replied, with as sad and mournful an expression as I could put on, "I am a widow; my husband was an Englishman, and on his death he left me in quite comfortable circumstances. I have, however, lost everything by these wretched rebels, who have destroyed my property, and robbed me without mercy." While indulging in this recital of my troubles I wiped my eyes with my pocket handkerchief, tried my best to squeeze out a tear or two, and looked as sorrow-stricken as I possibly could.

The provost marshal, if he did not exactly overflow with sympathy, appeared desirous of doing what he could for me, and asked where I lived.

I replied that, owing to my reduced circumstances I was unable to keep house, as I had been doing up to the breaking out of the war, and that I was occupying a rented room, which, small as it was, I was doubtful about being able to keep unless I heard from my friends soon, or was able to obtain some employment by which I could make a little money. I then told him what my number was, and after some further conversation, chiefly about my poverty, the wrongs I had suffered from the rebels, and the difficulty of making ends meet, I informed him that I had come from England to New Orleans with my late husband, some years before the war, and that I proposed to return there so soon as I received a sufficient remittance. The provost marshal expressed a willingness to aid me in any way that lay in his power, and I bowed myself out of his presence, feeling tolerably confident that I had produced the impression I wished, and that, if I managed matters discreetly, he and I would have no difficulty in getting along with each other.

The next day I met the provost marshal again. He appeared to be quite pleased to see me, and introduced me to

two officers of the thirty-first Massachusetts regiment. They were both gentlemen, with whom it would have been a pleasure for me to have formed a real friendship under any other circumstances; but, as my only object in making their acquaintance was that I might be able to use them as instruments for the accomplishment of my purposes as a Confederate agent, I of course did not permit my personal liking for them to interfere with the grand objects I had in view. They, on their side, appeared to be not a little gratified to find at least one woman in New Orleans who professed a decided partiality for the stars and stripes, — for such women were rare in those days, — and they showed a marked inclination to continue the acquaintance. I accordingly invited them to call upon me, and soon managed to establish such friendly relations with them that, through their influence, I gained access to headquarters.

General Butler I fought shy of, for I did not like his looks, and concluded to have as little to do with him as possible. I met his brother, Colonel Butler, however, who was the power behind the throne, and who managed most of the transactions which had any money in them, which the general could not have openly touched without exciting comment, and probably getting himself into trouble. Both the general and the colonel were decidedly on the make, and were bent on improving the chances which the practically unlimited control of one of the richest cities on the continent gave them for bettering their fortunes. The colonel, however, could attend to mere pocket-filling operations to better advantage than his brother, and it soon became well understood that he was the one to apply to, if any favors from headquarters were desired.

I Obtain Passes To Go Through The Lines.

From Colonel Butler I obtained permits to go to Mandeville, on the other side of Lake Pontchartrain, and even to visit Mobile, without being searched. With these papers in my possession, I set about preparing for a career of some activity in the way of running through the lines and communicating with the Confederate authorities. Having the same desire as the two Butlers to earn a dollar or so when I could, and, if possible, without stealing, I engaged quite extensively in the drug business, while performing the duties of a special messenger and bearer of Confederate despatches. Drugs of all

kinds were very scarce within the Confederate lines, and consequently brought enormous prices; so that any one who could manage to smuggle them past the Federal outposts was certain of reaping a handsome profit. I succeeded in obtaining a good quantity of this kind of merchandise from the different hospitals, and, as I could carry many dollars' worth about my person without attracting particular attention, I much more than made my expenses on the several trips I undertook to Mandeville and beyond. Confederate money was also cheap, as well as plenty, in New Orleans, as everybody had some of it; while, under Butler's orders, it could not be used. It therefore offered fine opportunities for speculation to any one who could carry it to where it was of more value than it was in New Orleans just at that time. I therefore invested quite heavily in Confederate promises to pay, and, as with the drugs, contrived to make the speculation pay handsomely.

Having made several trips with success and with much profit, I began to think that I was, perhaps, making out with my enterprises entirely too well; and, apprehensive of getting into some difficulty which I might not be able to get out of as easily as I could wish, — for I saw a number of indications of trouble ahead, — I resolved, while on one of my expeditions, after a consultation with my Confederate friends, to return to New Orleans, for the purpose of buying up a quantity of the proscribed money, and then to leave for good, getting out of Butler's power while I had a fair chance of doing so. This arrangement fell through, however; for I was persuaded to make a trip to Havana, for the purpose of carrying a despatch to the Confederate cruiser, the "290," or "Alabama," as she was otherwise called, and of transacting some other business of a secret character for advancing the interests of the Confederacy. This commission I accepted with eagerness, and returned to New Orleans with what haste I could, with the despatch secreted on my person, for the purpose of taking the first vessel for Havana.


A Trip to Havana. — My Purposes in making the Journey. — The Results of a Year of Warfare. — Gloomy Prospects. — A Gleam of Hope in Virginia. — The Delights of a Voyage on the Gulf of Mexico. — The Island of Cuba in Sight. — The Approach to Havana. — I communicate with the Confederate Agents and deliver my Despatches. — An Interchange of valuable Information. — The Business of Blockade-running and its enormous Profits. — The Injury to the Business caused by the Capture of New Orleans. — My Return to New Orleans and Preparation for future Adventures.

THE idea of making a trip to Havana was very agreeable to me for a number of reasons. My health was not so robust as it had been, and my wounded arm, although it had healed up, was still very sore, and hurt me severely at times. It was an impossibility for me to keep quiet so long as I was in the midst of associations calculated to excite me and to stimulate the combativeness of my nature, and I needed more than anything else, for restoration to perfect health, such a rest as a sea voyage alone could give. There was, it is true, some risks in visiting Havana at this season, but I was acclimated, and did not worry myself much with fears of yellow fever or other diseases, my mind being too intently fixed on a variety of other matters that I esteemed of more consequence.

The most important reason for my wishing to take a run over there was, a desire to make the acquaintance of the Confederate agents, and to learn something of their methods of transacting business in the way of sending communications through the lines, for, even when the blockade could not be run with goods, it was often possible to smuggle important information past the Federal cruisers, and, some of the post lines were so complete, that, in spite of the vigilance of their enemies, the beleaguered Confederates managed to maintain correspondence very regularly with their friends of the outside world.

My brief experience had convinced me that I had peculiar talents for the kind of work in which I had been engaged since the advent of Butler and his forces in New Orleans, and my only regret was, that I had not made a persistent effort to take it up sooner. I determined now, however, to qualify myself as quickly as possible for the business of a spy and a bearer of despatches, for I felt assured that there would be plenty of employment found for me before the war was over, and that if I proved myself skilful and reliable, the Confederate authorities would avail themselves of my services with an alacrity they had not shown when I was skirmishing around in the character of a little dandy independent lieutenant, seeking to have a hand in every fight.

A Discouraging Outlook.

The military situation in some of its aspects was gloomy enough. In the West we had occasional successes, but their permanent value was little or nothing, while the enemy was steadily advancing and making the beleaguerment of the Confederacy more complete every day. The loss of New Orleans was a bewildering blow, from which there was no recovery but by the retaking of the city, and the prospects that we would be able to do this very soon were not particularly promising. In the mean time the Federals were evidently working resolutely to gain possession of the Mississippi River throughout its entire length, and strong as were the fortifications at Vicksburg and other points, I had not that faith in their invincibility I once would have had. I had seen too many positions proclaimed invincible and defended with valor, fall before the Federal attacks, for me to have anything of my old-time faith in the irresistible valor of Southern soldiers or the masterly generalship of Southern commanders. The old boast which I was accustomed to hear so often at the outbreak of the war, that one Southerner could whip five Yankees, had turned out to be mere boasting, and nothing more. The Federals, while they did not have all the dash and elan of the Confederates, had proved their fighting qualities on too many well-contested fields for the old-fashioned talk about the superiority of Southern prowess to be in order; and they had a way, when they once captured an important position, of staying there, in spite of all efforts to dislodge them, that did not promise at all well for the future of the cause.

Were it not that the news from Virginia was in some degree encouraging, I should have been almost willing to have concluded, that we were indeed nearing the last ditch, which some of our orators were so fond of alluding to. There, however, the Confederate soldiers were indeed winning laurels, and the capture of Richmond was as apparently as far off as it was when I turned my back upon it to seek my fortune in the West. If our brave boys under Lee, therefore, could only improve the summer as the winter had been improved in the West by the Federals, there would be some hope that, after all, we might win the desperate game we were playing, and accomplish substantially all for which we took up arms.

Effects Of The Blockade.

In the mean time, however, things were in a bad way in many respects in the beleaguered Confederacy. The coast blockade was now fully established, and the enemy's lines were drawn so close along the principal avenues of communication with the outside world and the interior, that our commerce was completely killed, and our people were already suffering for many of the necessities of life, while the requirements of warfare with a powerful enemy, amply provided with resources, were impoverishing them more and more every day. Whole districts had been devastated by the manoeuvrings of the different armies, and the suffering among the poorer classes throughout the entire South was very great, while many persons, who were possessed of ample wealth before the war, were now feeling the pinchings of poverty, and were learning what it was not to know where the next meal was coming from.

It was truly a pitiable condition of affairs; and the worst of it was, that there was no promise of speedy amendment. If these were the results of one year of warfare, what would be the condition of things, should the conflict be prolonged for another twelvemonth? Alas! it was prolonged, not for one more year merely, but for three; and when the dreadful day of total irremediable defeat — to which some of us, at the time which I am now referring to, were already uneasily and unwillingly looking forward — finally came, the South was literally exhausted, as no other country ever had been before.

While I could not help reflecting deeply on the discouragement of the situation, and feeling uneasy with regard to the future, it was not my disposition to brood over possibly imaginary misfortunes, or to allow myself to be unnerved by disasters that might never happen. I believed in making the most of the present, and I knew that the only way in which success ever could be achieved, would be by those who really had the interest of the cause at heart laboring incessantly, and in the face of every discouragement, with all the energy at their command. The difficulties of the situation, indeed, inspired me with a sort of enthusiasm which I had not felt before, and the particular sort of duty which I had now taken up was so decidedly congenial, and promised to be so full of exciting adventures, that there was a positive enjoyment to be got from it, such as mere campaigning did not yield.

Off For Havana.

I started off for Havana, therefore, in anticipation of a particularly pleasant cruise, which would not only be beneficial to my health, but which would afford me an agreeable change of scene, and at the same time give me facilities for carrying on the line of operations I proposed to the best advantage.

Leaving the turbulent current and the muddy banks of the Mississippi behind me, the vessel upon which I embarked was soon ploughing her way through the beautiful blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, pointed towards my native city — a city that I had not visited since I left it years ago, when a child, to go to New Orleans for the purpose of completing my education. It was upon these waters, and in their vicinity, that my adventure-loving ancestors had achieved renown and wealth in making explorations and conquests of the New World discovered by Columbus. Not far from the track of the ship in which I was now speeding towards Havana had sailed the expedition fitted out by old Governor Don Diego Valazquez, which discovered Mexico, and prepared the way for the brilliant exploits of Cortez and his followers, while the whole Gulf and its surrounding shores were alive with memories of the valiant deeds of the valiant people of my father's race.

Nothing more delightful than a cruise on the Gulf of Mexico during the summer season can be imagined. The water is deeply, darkly, beautifully blue, — a blue totally unlike that of the Atlantic Ocean, and one of the loveliest of colors, — and to sail upon the broad bosom of this sea of sapphire, for three or four days in fine weather, with just breeze enough to make the spray fly from the tops of the waves, is one of the rarest enjoyments that life affords. I certainly enjoyed it, and every warm sea breeze that fanned my cheeks brought health, strength, and exhilaration of spirits with it. This was just what I wanted to revive me after the trials and sufferings — physical and mental — of the past twelve months, and to prepare me for the trying duties yet to be performed.

Approaching Cuba.

At length, far in the distance, the lofty Cuban highlands were seen, resting like a faint blue cloud on the horizon, but taking shape as we approached, until, from the misty outlines, the mountain forms began to disclose themselves, and finally cities, villages, and even single houses and trees were revealed. It seemed like going into another world; for anything more unlike the low, flat, and unpicturesque country which I had just left, could scarcely be imagined, and I not only felt proud of my beautiful native island, but I wondered not that Spain should cling with such tenacity to this the fairest, and now the only really important portion of the great dominion which her valorous sons had centuries before conquered for her in the New World. At the same time, I begrudged that this fair island should be the dependency of a foreign power; for I was, despite my Spanish ancestry, an American, heart and soul, and if there was anything that could have induced me to abandon the cause of the Southern Confederacy, it would have been an attempt on the part of the Cubans to have liberated themselves from the Spanish yoke.

As we approached Cuba, and as the beautiful island seemed to rise out of the sea before us, revealing more and more of its surpassing loveliness, I wondered within myself whether such an attempt would not some day — and some day soon — be made, and more than half resolved that should the Cubans strike a blow for independence, I would join my fortunes to theirs, and serve their cause with the same assiduity that I was now serving that of the Confederacy.

After a voyage which had been to me one of uninterrupted pleasure, our ship dropped anchor before the city of Havana. No city on the globe has been more fitly named; for this harbor is unsurpassed, and nestles beneath the shadow of the vine-clad hills, — a broad, land-locked basin, in which the navies of the world might float. While not insensible to the beauties of the spectacle which the place of my nativity and its surroundings presented to the eye, I was too full of other thoughts just at that moment to give myself up to the enjoyment of it, as I might have done at another time, and was as eager to get on shore and execute my commission, as if my brief sojourn on shipboard had been a thraldom to me instead of a source of real pleasure.

Landing In Havana.

I, therefore, landed at the earliest possible moment; and making my way through streets that seemed strangely familiar, and among people speaking my native tongue, which sounded most oddly after the long years since I had been accustomed to hear it habitually spoken, I succeeded in finding the Confederate agent, into whose trusty hands I had been directed to place my despatches for the "Alabama." This important commission having been satisfactorily executed, my chief responsibilities were at an end, and I was at liberty to gratify my curiosity and my desire to learn all that could be learned that was likely to be of service to me in any future enterprises in which I might be engaged.

I confidently expected to visit Havana again, and, perhaps, many times before the end of the war, and therefore was anxious to make the most of the present opportunity for gaining all the information I was able that would in any way aid me in the successful prosecution of such exploits as I might hereafter think it expedient to undertake.

The friends of the Confederacy, with whom I was thrown in contact, were eager to obtain all the news they could with regard to the progress of events, the present situation of affairs, and the prospect for the immediate future. I was able to tell them a great many things that surprised them, and to give them much important information that would never have reached them through the ordinary news channels. There was much, of course, that I did not tell, for a great variety of reasons, and they were evidently puzzled to understand how I came to be possessed of such extensive and such accurate information. I was, of course, particularly reticent about the part I had been playing during a greater portion of the past year, and represented myself to be just what I then appeared, — a woman, who was engaged in the perilous task of running the lines for the purpose of carrying information. My evident accomplishments, and my thorough knowledge upon many points about which they were but meagrely informed, however, greatly increased their respect for me, and enabled me to gain confidences that otherwise might have been withheld.

In Communication With Confederate Agents.

From Messrs. Infanta & Co., and other prominent persons, I succeeded in learning much that was well worth knowing; and before the time came for me to say adieu to Havana, my brain was teeming with plans which I was all eagerness to execute. I found that the friends of the Confederacy were completely in the ascendent in Havana, and that more than one of its capitalists were deeply interested in the profitable but hazardous business of blockade-running; although, through a variety of circumstances, this city was not the headquarters of the extensive trade which the misfortunes of the South were building up, and which promised to yield almost fabulous profits should the war continue for any length of time, as these good money-loving people evidently desired that it should.

I could not help thinking, however, when I heard of the enormous sums of money which a single cargo yielded, in event of its being able to elude the Federal cruisers and the blockading fleet, and reach a Southern port, of the suffering and impoverished people at whose expense the blockade-runners were heaping up riches, and I wished heartily that I had some way of making them devote a portion of their wealth to the relief of the victims of cruel war, and to the advancement of the cause. I could not help acknowledging, however, that their money was fairly earned, and that while accumulating magnificent profits by their operations, they were doing a great deal in a certain way towards sustaining the Confederacy in the mighty struggles it was making for independence.

The capture of New Orleans had been a great surprise to every one in Havana, as it doubtless was to the friends of the Confederacy everywhere; and it was the cause of innumerable and bitter regrets, for it effectually put a stop to blockade-running in that quarter, and, consequently cut off many opportunities for tolerably easy money-making, which those in the business had hitherto enjoyed. Every one agreed that it was by far the most damaging blow that the Federals had yet succeeded in striking at the Confederacy, and not a few believed that it was but the prelude to greater disasters, and to a final overthrow of the attempt which was being made to secure a permanent severance of the South from the North. All, however, were agreed that, so far as they were concerned, obedience to the adage, to make hay while the sun shines, was the only true policy; and that, while the perils of blockade-running would now be greatly increased, the profits were so enormous as to warrant all the risks, and that the business would, therefore, be prosecuted with more energy than ever, while it would be necessary to adopt a more perfect and certain system of communication with the Confederate authorities. I was able to give a great number of valuable hints with regard to the best way of managing things; and, in return, was supplied with many points which I would be likely to find useful, both immediately and in the future.

My stay in Havana was of short duration; and having accomplished my errand, and learned all that I could, I proposed to return to New Orleans.

Back In New Orleans.

The return trip was as agreeable as the one out, and it greatly refreshed and benefited me, so that when I again set foot on the levee at New Orleans, I felt in better condition than I had been in for a long time, and was prepared for any amount of hard work; and of hard work there was likely to be plenty to do, for Butler was tightening his grasp on the people, and was disposed to make his rule over them as little gratifying to their feelings as possible. That my old business of smuggling drugs, and other matters needed by the Confederates, and of conveying information back and forth, would have to be carried on — if it were carried on at all — under a pressure of much greater difficulties than formerly, was soon very apparent. I was not one, however, to be appalled by difficulties, but was rather excited by them to exert myself to the utmost; and it afforded me an immense amount of satisfaction that, in a quiet way, I would be able to accomplish many things for which Butler would have been highly pleased to have strangled me, could he have discovered what I was about. And I did manage to do several tolerably good strokes of work before New Orleans became too unpleasant a place for me to abide in, and I was forced to the conclusion that it was best for me to take up my quarters elsewhere, outside of Butler's jurisdiction.


Butler's Rule in New Orleans. — A System of Terrorism. — My Acquaintance with Federal Officers. — I resume the Business of carrying Information through the Lines. — A Trip to Robertson's Plantation for the Purpose of carrying a Confederate Despatch. — A long Tramp after Night. — Some of the Incidents of my Journey. — The Alligators and Mosquitoes. — Arrival at my Destination, and Delivery of the Despatch to a Confederate Officer. — My hospitable Entertainment by Friends of the Confederacy. — My Return to New Orleans. — Capture of the Bearer of my Despatch, and my Arrest. — I am taken before Butler, who endeavors to extort a Confession from me. — Butler as a Bully. — I refuse to confess, and am ordered to be imprisoned in the Custom-House. — My Release, through the Intercession of the British Consul. — I resolve to leave New Orleans, for fear of getting into further Trouble. — A Bargain with a Fisherman to take me across Lake Pontchartrain. — My Escape from Butler's Jurisdiction.

I WAS astonished, sometimes, at my own good luck in keeping clear of controversies with the military authorities; for Butler was bent on crushing out every indication of sympathy with the Confederacy, and he was most savage and relentless in his punishment of those who defied his mandates by attempting to hold communication with the Southern soldiery, who were only waiting for a proper opportunity to rescue New Orleans, and who were therefore anxious, of course, to understand exactly how matters stood in the city, in order that they might take advantage of a suitable moment, if any should present, for relieving its unpopular ruler of his responsibilities. The peculiar situation of New Orleans, on a narrow strip of land between the river and Lake Pontchartrain, and with numerous bayous, lakes, and other water ways in close proximity, was such as to make the passage back and forth of Confederate agents a much easier matter than it would have been under some circumstances. It was, however, a dangerous business always, and a number of persons, of both sexes, who undertook to defy Butler by communicating with their friends in the interior, or who employed themselves in smuggling goods or intelligence through the lines, were caught and punished; sentences calculated to inspire terror in those who were capable of being terrified being imposed, without regard to the sex or social standing of the offenders.

A favorite punishment, for those who managed to fall under the displeasure of the commanding general, was a sojourn, for periods of time varying according to Butler's notions of the gravity of their offences, on Ship Island, a desolate strip of sand on Mississippi Sound, which had been used by the Federal forces as a rendezvous before the attack upon the city. Butler was compelled to live on this sandbank for a number of months, before Admiral Farragut made it possible for him to take up his abode in one of the finest residences of New Orleans, and he appeared to have contracted such an intense dislike to the place, that he could imagine no worse fate for those who were imprudent enough to defy his will, than to send them there. I came very near being obliged to make Ship Island my home for a time under orders from Butler, and only escaped such a fate through my address and courage, and the thoroughness of the preparations I had made to meet such an emergency.

Running The Lines.

Unlike many others, I settled myself down resolutely to the business of running the lines, and was not satisfied with making a trip or two, and then either ceasing operations altogether, or else waiting until suspicion should die away before making another attempt. I considered myself as much in the Confederate service as I was when I wore the uniform of an officer, and I felt it my duty to be, like a soldier, always vigilant, and always ready to do the enemy all the damage I possibly could. I therefore went about the prosecution of my plans systematically, taking all proper precautions, of course, to avoid detection, but trusting a good deal to luck and to my ready wit to get me out of any difficulty into which I might happen to fall.

I had very few friends or acquaintances, for I did not care to be extensively known, being well aware that the more people there were whose attention was attracted to me, the more likelihood there would be of suspicion attaching to my movements. At the same time I was anxious to avoid any appearance of mystery, and took particular pains to let myself be seen frequently, and to leave the impression that I was what I pretended to be — a widow, in reduced circumstances, who was only waiting to receive money from England in order to return to that country. I kept up a sort of acquaintance with a few officers of the Federal army, to whom I had been introduced, which I was the more pleased to do as they were very pleasant gentlemen, and contrived, by frequent allusions to the subject, to fix in their minds the idea that I had been robbed, and otherwise outrageously maltreated by the Confederates, and that the arrival of the Federals was a source of infinite satisfaction to me.

From these officers I sometimes succeeded in obtaining information that was worth having by judiciously keeping my ears open, or by asking an apparently innocent question at the proper moment. I was, however, very careful not to appear to question them, or to do anything that would in the slightest degree arouse their suspicions. My acquaintance with them was kept up for the purpose of having it understood at headquarters, and among the officers generally, that I was one of the few women in New Orleans who professed Union sentiments. My means of gaining intelligence were such as these gentlemen had little idea of, and were of such a character that there was no necessity for me to risk anything by imprudent conversation with them. Indeed, it was very evident sometimes, judging from their conversation, that I was very fully informed about a great many things with regard to which they knew little or nothing.

I do not know whether or not Butler and his satellites ever suspected me, up to the time they caught me. When I was finally detected, and arraigned before the general, he tried his best to play the bully, and to frighten me into making some admissions, and he intimated that I had been under surveillance for a long time. This, however, was probably all brag, or at least I chose to understand it as such; and as I did not frighten at all to his satisfaction, he did not succeed in making a great deal out of me.

Not a great while after my return from Havana, I undertook to go to Robertson's Plantation, for the purpose of sending some despatches, as well as some verbal information, to the Confederate forces stationed at Franklin. It was necessary for me to make the trip after nightfall, and to walk the entire distance of seventeen miles; and that such a tramp could scarcely be a particularly pleasant exercise, those who are acquainted with the country around New Orleans need not be reminded. I was not to be deterred, however, any more by the personal inconveniences involved in my undertaking the expedition, than I was by any perils I was likely to encounter, and set off, therefore, resolved to accomplish my errand, if its accomplishment were possible.

A Long Walk After Night.

I had not much difficulty in getting past the outpost, and once sure that I was out of sight and sound of the Federal pickets, I started off at a steady pace, bent upon getting over as much ground as I could before daylight came and rendered it necessary for me to be more cautious in my movements. I made pretty good time, but did not get along as fast as I would have done had I been in male attire, and long before I reached my destination I heartily wished that it had been possible for me to have donned a masculine habit in safety; for a woman's skirts are not adapted for fast travelling on a Louisiana highway, on a sultry summer's night, with only the stars and the fire-flies to lighten the pathway.

It was a terribly lonesome walk. After getting past the pickets, I did not meet with a single human being throughout the whole of my long and weary journey. The only sounds to be heard were the barking of the alligators, or the splashing of one of these monsters as he plunged into the stream at my approach. I was frequently startled by the sounds made by these horrid animals close at hand after a considerable interval of silence, but pushed on resolutely despite them, and despite the swarms of mosquitoes, which seemed to increase in number as I proceeded, and which occasioned me infinite annoyance. Whenever I sat down to rest, which I was compelled to do a number of times before my journey was completed, these venomous insects attacked me with the greatest fury, and my face and hands were terribly bitten before I was able to escape from them. These were some of the delights of my long night walk for the purpose of fulfilling my mission as a bearer of despatches, and it was an immense relief to me when, just about daybreak, I reached my destination, foot-sore and completely tired out, but satisfied with having accomplished my errand without having been interrupted.

The Despatch Delivered.

I found some Confederate soldiers preparing to cross the lake, and, going to one of them, who seemed to be in command of the party, I told him a number of things which I had thought it more prudent not to commit to writing, and desired him to pass the word along. Then, waiting until the boat was ready to set sail, I gave him an enclosure containing my despatches, asking him, if possible, to deliver it at headquarters, or if he was unable to do this, to drop it at the earliest moment in the post-office.

I cautioned him particularly, and with the greatest earnestness, to be exceedingly careful of the package, as it contained matters of vital importance, upon which a great deal was dependent. He promised a faithful compliance with my instructions, and jumping into the boat, he and his companions shoved off from the shore, and were soon lost in the heavy mist that rested upon the surface of the lake.

My responsibilities, so far as the custody of the despatches was concerned, were now at an end, and with a light heart, but tired limbs, I sought some place where I could obtain refreshment, and the repose I so badly needed, before I attempted to return to the city. Going to a house near by, I asked for something to eat, and an opportunity to rest myself. Two gentlemen appeared and gave me a very cordial welcome, for they understood, without questioning me, what my errand was, and they were anxious to do all in their power to make me comfortable.

Friends In Need.

I was in a most dilapidated condition, and was anything but a presentable object, or one calculated to figure with advantage at the breakfast-table of a respectable family. My clothing was heavy with the night dews, and my skirts were bedraggled with dirt; my shoes were nearly worn through, and were covered with mud; and, taking me altogether, I was as forlorn a looking creature as could be imagined.

My entertainers, however, knew how to excuse appearances; and, understanding the situation thoroughly, they would not permit me to make any excuses or apologies, but insisted on my accepting such hospitalities as they had to offer, and promised to procure me a change of clothing, so that I might make a somewhat more presentable figure.

They accordingly gave me a room where I could make my toilet, and sent a servant to wait on me, while they applied to a lady of the neighborhood for some clothing that I might wear while my own was being dried and cleansed. The lady complied with their requests with the greatest alacrity, and sent me the best her wardrobe afforded, being anxious to serve me in any manner in her power. As she was in entire sympathy with the cause for which I was laboring, she refused to receive any compensation, or to take back the clothing, when, at nightfall, I prepared to resume my own, which, by diligent brushing and rubbing, had been gotten into tolerably good condition again for the purpose of returning to the city.

A wash, a change of garments, and a substantial breakfast refreshed me immensely, and made me feel like another person. As it was impossible for me to attempt to reach New Orleans without running too many risks of discovery, or, at least, of being suspected, except under cover of the night, and as I was sorely in need of rest, my new-made friends insisted that I should remain where I was until the proper time came for me to return.

Return To New Orleans.

I therefore went to bed, and slept a good part of the day, and about eleven o'clock at night they provided me with a horse, and escorted me to as near the outposts as I deemed it safe for them to go. On our way, I gave them a number of points about the situation of things in New Orleans, and informed them how they might, in various ways, be of service to the Confederacy, if they were disposed to extend the active workers all the aid that was in their power. When the time came for bidding them farewell, I thanked them in the warmest manner for their kindness to me; but they assured me that the obligations were all on their side, and that they were only too glad to assist, in any manner possible, a brave woman, who was willing to venture, as I had done, for the purpose of advancing the welfare of a cause which was a common one with us all.

After parting with the gentlemen, I made my way into the city on foot, being as successful as on the night previous in eluding the pickets. Having once got within the Federal lines again, I hastened to the French market, where I obtained some breakfast, and where I remained until the streets began to be filled with people, before venturing to return to my room. My idea was to have any one who might happen to take particular notice of me think that I had been marketing. So, soon as I concluded that it would be safe for me to show myself, I passed up St. Peter Street to Rampart Street, and from thence to my room. On reaching my apartment I locked myself in, and went to bed to take a good rest.

In the afternoon of the same day I wrote a note to one of the officers of the thirty-first Massachusetts regiment, whose acquaintance I had made shortly after the Federal occupation of the city, and he very politely answered it by calling upon me. It was my intention to let him know that I had been out of the city, so that, in case any one should have been making a note of my movements, with a view of reporting them at headquarters, there would be somebody on hand who would be able to give my version of the case, and thus probably prevent any investigation, and stifle suspicion. I therefore, after a little general conversation, gave my visitor to understand that I had been out of town; and on his inquiring my whereabouts during my trip, I told him that I had been to Carrolton, on a visit to a friend. He believed every word I told him, without the slightest hesitation; and after some further talk about matters of no moment, he went away, leaving me tolerably well satisfied with having successfully accomplished my errand, and with having taken all proper precaution to avoid getting into any trouble about it.

Before Butler.

Unluckily for me, however, the very thing upon which I had not calculated, and which I had no power to prevent, occurred. The officer to whom I had intrusted my despatch was captured, and the document was found upon his person. Through some means, which I could not surmise, the provost marshal was informed that I was the writer of the despatch, although the name signed to it was not the one he knew me by. A negro was found, too, who swore that he had seen me walking along the river, outside of the lines, and the result was that I was placed under arrest, and taken before Butler himself.

Butler was not the handsomest man I ever saw in my life, and he certainly looked the tyrant that he was. It was a favorite amusement with him to browbeat people who were brought before him, and he was remarkably skilful in terrifying those who were weak enough to submit to being bullied by him into making just the admission he wanted them to make. I had heard a good deal about his peculiar methods of dealing with those who had incurred his displeasure in any way, and particularly with those who were suspected of furnishing the Confederates with information concerning the situation within the Federal lines, and I was therefore prepared, in a measure, for the ordeal which I was now compelled to undergo.

I was determined to admit nothing that could not be distinctly proved against me, to sustain to the last the character I had assumed, and to fall back upon the protection which I felt sure my British papers would afford me as a last resort. I promised myself that, so far as any attempt to bully me, or to overcome me with threats were concerned, the general would find me more than a match for him; and the only trepidation I suffered in going before him grew out of my uncertainty with regard to the extent of his information about my proceedings. I felt, however, that it would be a safe course to admit nothing, and to compel Butler to produce his proof, if he had any, before making any acknowledgment whatever.

A Contest Of Wits.

Sure enough, when I was brought into his presence, he proceeded on the theory that I was the person he wanted, and that I was guilty of the charge made against me. He evidently thought the case was a perfectly plain one, and that I would not attempt a denial. I, however, kept cool, and refused to look at the matter from his point of view; and, as none of the witnesses who appeared were able to swear positively to my identity as the woman who had acted as the bearer of the despatch found on the Confederate officer, I began to think that I was going to get clear without a great deal of trouble.

Butler, however, was not one from whom it was easy to get away when his suspicions were once aroused, and I saw plainly that he was convinced of the fact that he had captured the right person this time, and that his prisoner was a spy who had been giving him serious annoyance. He was, therefore, resolved not to let me slip through his fingers if he could help it; and finding that he could not absolutely prove anything against me, he concluded to try whether it would not be possible to force me into committing myself.

When, therefore, instead of ordering my release, Butler settled his podgy figure back in his chair, and, apparently, making a vigorous attempt to look straight at me with both eyes at once, — an impossibility, by the way, — said, with a harsh, grating voice, and with what was intended to be an intensely satirical manner, "Well, madam, you have shown your hand nicely; I have been wanting you for some time past, and I propose to send you to Ship Island," — I felt that the real ordeal was but just commencing.

Without permitting myself to be disconcerted, either by his manner or by his threat, I replied, "I guess not; the law does not permit you to sentence any one on mere hearsay or belief. and no evidence has been produced against me."

"Are you not guilty?" said Butler, blinking his eyes, and trying to look as savage as possible.

"That is for you to prove, if you intend to punish me," I replied. "It is very certain you have not succeeded in proving it yet."

"Come, come, madam, I don't want any of this nonsense," struck in Butler, sharply. "I know you, and your tricks; and as your little game is played out, you might as well confess, and be done with it."

"There is no difficulty about your finding out who I am," I retorted. "My name, and residence, and circumstances are well known to your officers, and have been ever since the capture of the city. You have no proof against me, and I have nothing to confess."

"Do you mean to say," continued the general, "that you are not the writer of that letter, or that you did not smuggle it through the lines?"

"I don't mean to say anything about it," I answered; "and I don't mean to confess what I didn't do."

By this time Butler, seeing that he was not making much headway with me, began to get angry, and he roared out, "Well, madam, if you won't confess without compulsion, I'll see whether I can't compel you. I'm tired of this sort of thing, and I'm going to make an example of you for the benefit of the other female spies who are hanging about this city."

I replied, as cool as possible, "You may get yourself into trouble, sir, if you attempt to punish an innocent woman on a false and scandalous charge like this, when there is not a particle of evidence to sustain it."

This appeared to infuriate Butler more than ever; and, turning to one of his officers, he gave an order that I should be locked up in a cell in the Custom House until my case was investigated further.

When I heard this order I turned to him with all the dignity I could command, and said, "One word, sir; you will please to understand that I am a British subject, and that I claim the protection of the British flag."

Butler, who displayed a particular antipathy to foreigners, and especially to the English, on all occasions, blurted out, "We will see about that; I don't care for Johnny Bull;" and then turning to the officer he said, "Take that woman to the Custom House."

This ended the investigation, and I left the presence of the general, feeling tolerably well satisfied with having got the best of him thus far, but dubious about the ultimate issue of the affair, for I was confident that he would make an endeavor to fasten the charge on me in such a manner that there would be no escape; and I knew that if he once got possession of the right clew, he could easily obtain plenty of evidence against me; for, notwithstanding all my precautions, there were necessarily a number of persons in the city who were, to a greater or less degree, informed with regard to my movements, and some of them, I feared, might tell what they knew if they were put under cross-examination, backed up by a liberal use of threats.

I, however, was not disposed to vex myself with troubles before they came, and preserved my equanimity, trusting to my usual good luck to bring my present difficulties to a satisfactory conclusion. The officer in whose charge I was placed was a gentleman in every respect, and he treated me in the most courteous manner while escorting me to the Custom House, apologizing for being compelled to perform so unpleasant a duty; and, on our arrival at the building which was to serve as my prison, he procured a nice camp bed for my cell, and in other ways tried to make me as comfortable as circumstances would permit. He ordered that my meals should be sent me regularly, and promised that an effort would be made to prevent my incarceration from being any more unpleasant than was absolutely necessary.

The behavior of this gentleman was in striking contrast to that of his chief, and I felt very grateful to him, as I did, also, to several unknown ladies, who sent me a number of little luxuries that aided materially in making my imprisonment endurable. Before the officer left me, I asked him if I could not be permitted to have the use of writing materials. He said that he had no authority to grant such a request, but that he would see what could be done for me, as it would give him pleasure to oblige me by every means in his power.

A friend of mine, Sergeant B., hearing that I was imprisoned, came to see me, and on my expressing a great desire to have some pens, ink, and paper, he promised to procure them and slip them in to me. He also said that he would carry any message I might desire to send to my friends outside. I thanked him, and requested him to try and let me have some writing materials as soon as possible. He therefore procured them, and I immediately wrote a note to Mr. Coppell, the British consul, in which I explained my situation briefly, and asked his assistance.

Mr. Coppell called upon me at once, and I, claiming that I was a British subject, and under imprisonment by General Butler's personal order, although nothing whatever had been proven against me, asked his protection and his influence for a release without more delay. He promised to do what he could for me, and asked for my proofs of British citizenship. I therefore gave him my trunk key and the number of my room, with a description of the papers I had purchased in view of just such an emergency as this, and he having obtained them went to Butler's headquarters to demand my liberation.

Released From Prison.

I do not know what passed between the consul and the general, but the result of the interview was an order for my release, and I accordingly walked out of the Custom House under Mr. Coppell's escort, and with all the rebel in me exultant at having got the better of Butler.

I understood plainly that my operations as a spy in New Orleans were now at an end, and that the safest and best thing I could do, if I did not want to get into further trouble, would be to leave the city at the earliest possible moment. There was, however, no longer any necessity for keeping my rebel sympathies concealed, and I was really glad of an opportunity to let them be seen. As we were going out of the Custom House I heard some one bragging how they were going to thrash Johnny Bull, and I could not resist the temptation of turning to Mr. Coppell, who must also have heard the remark and saying, "That fellow must be crazy. He and his friends had better wipe out secession first, before they talk about whipping Johnny Bull." I said this loud enough for everbody to hear me, and it made the speaker and others around us furious, and elicited several retorts, at which we only laughed. This was a foolish proceeding on my part, but I could not help taking a bit of womanly revenge on my enemies for what they had done to me.

Having obtained my freedom again, I prepared to forsake New Orleans, and applied for a pass. This, however, was refused me; and I saw that if I intended to get out of Butler's power so as to be able to resume operations either as a spy or as a Confederate officer, it would be necessary for me to run the blockade. Situated as I was, and under suspicion of being a spy, this, I was well aware, would be a particularly risky thing to attempt; but there was no alternative left me except to either attempt it, or else remain in the city in idleness, and in constant danger of having some of my many previous transactions, in the way of carrying information to the Confederates, found out. I felt very certain that if Butler did succeed in discovering who I was, and in fastening upon me, beyond a doubt, any charge of a similar nature to the one I had just eluded, I would not get off so easily as I had done in my first controversy with him, and I therefore concluded that I ran a greater risk in remaining in New Orleans than I did in attempting to leave it surreptitiously.

Having made up my mind to leave, and to leave as expeditiously as I conveniently could, I proceeded to make the necessary arrangements, taking care to attract as little attention as possible. The provisioning of New Orleans was a serious problem with the military rulers of the city; and in order to keep the markets supplied, even in a moderate degree, with the necessities of life, they were compelled to permit some intercourse with the surrounding country and boats for the conveyance of food even ran between New Orleans and Mobile, under certain stringent regulations, which, however, were unable to prevent them from being used by the agents of the Confederate States in a manner that Butler did not approve. Communication, therefore, between the city and country was always possible, although to attempt anything of the kind without a pass, subjected the wayfarer to a liability of being suspected and punished as a spy.

I had made a goodly number of trips in different directions, sometimes with passes and sometimes without, and consequently knew exactly how to proceed, and what were the difficulties to be overcome. The chief danger to be apprehended I knew would be from the Federal patrols, who were becoming more and more vigilant every day, as resolute efforts were being made to break up the Confederate spy system, and the illicit traffic which many persons of both sexes were engaged in carrying on, to the great discomfort of the Federal occupants of the city. I had also something to fear lest any agent whom I might employ to aid me in making my escape should prove treacherous, either through hope of gain or a desire to win the favor of Butler. On this last score, however, I had comparatively few apprehensions, as I was prepared to pay a good round sum to any one who would be willing to perform for me the services I needed, and I knew well that some of the stanchest adherents of the Confederacy were to be found among the poor white population of New Orleans and vicinity. I know that if I could once make the other side of Lake Pontchartrain I would be safe, and that there would be fewer risks to run in attempting an escape in that direction than in any other. I accordingly laid my plans for a trip across the lake, with a view of striking a point near the railroad, so that I could reach Jackson with the least inconvenience.

Going down to the lake, I found a fisherman who was pursuing his avocation under a permit from Butler, and taking advantage of an opportunity to speak to him when our conversation could not be overheard, I asked, "Do any rebels ever cross the lake without papers?"

"Yes," said he, "sometimes."

"Do you think that you could take me over if I were to make it worth your while?" said I.

"Are you a reb?" he, questioned, looking at me sharply.

"They say I am," I answered.

"Well, I might take you over if you will pay enough."

"I'll give you a good deal more than you can get for any job you do for the Federals."

"All right, then," said he; and without more argument we struck a bargain, and arranged time and place of meeting, my boatman giving me some directions how to proceed so as to avoid attracting attention, from which I inferred that this was not the first time he had been engaged in running the blockade.

Going home, I put on two complete suits of clothing, as it would not have answered for me to have carried any baggage, or even a small package, and secreted about my person all the Confederate money I had purchased, about nine thousand dollars in greenbacks, and my jewelry. At the appointed time I was at the rendezvous, and saw my boatman waiting. Fearful, however, of being apprehended just as I was about to start, I did not show myself at first, but crept cautiously through the bushes until I could see whether any one was observing my movements. Finding the coast apparently clear, I made a signal to the man, and he approached and took me into the boat.

Getting Away From New Orleans.

In a moment more the sail was hoisted, and we were speeding over the lake before a good breeze, which promised, ere a great while, to waft me beyond Butler's jurisdiction, and enable me once more to give the Confederacy the benefit of my services.

I had a reasonable amount of confidence in the fidelity of the boatman, but at the same time was determined to be prepared against any attempt at treachery on his part. I had, accordingly, provided myself with a six-shooter, and had taken pains to see that it was loaded, and all in condition for instant use, before leaving my room. On taking my seat in the boat I placed my hand on this weapon, and was resolved to put it to the head of the man if he showed the slightest indication of a desire to betray me. I had no fancy for a sojourn on Ship Island, and would, without the slightest hesitation, have used my revolver freely before submitting to a capture. The man however, was faithful enough, and with the prospect of a liberal reward before him, he was only eager to reach the other side of the lake as soon as he could, and to avoid the Federal patrols in doing so.

Fortune favored us, and it was not long before we were out of the reach of immediate danger, and in a fair way to make the Mississippi shore without being interfered with. On landing I paid the boatman his money, according to the bargain I had made with him, and started off for the nearest railroad station for the purpose of going to Jackson. Thus ended my career in New Orleans as a Confederate spy. It was a successful one, taking all things into consideration, but I was not sorry to get away, and considered myself fortunate in being able to make my escape with as much ease as I did.


Uncertainties of the Military Situation. — I go to Jackson, Mississippi. — Burning of the Bowman House in that place by Breckenridge's Soldiers. — The unpleasant Position in which Non-combatants were placed. — A Visit to the Camp of General Dan. Adams, and Interview with that Officer. — I visit Hazlehurst, and carry a Message to General Gardner at Port Hudson. — Recovery of my Negro Boy Bob. — General Van Dorn's Raid on Holly Springs. — I resolve to Return to Virginia. — The Results of two Years of Warfare. — Dark Days for the Confederacy. — Fighting against Hope.

ON leaving New Orleans I had no very definite plans for the immediate future, my hurried departure, as well as my lack of knowledge with regard to the exact details of the military situation, having prevented me from forming any. I was, therefore, rather at a loss exactly how to proceed, but did not doubt of my ability to find a field for the display of my talents ere a great while. I was now more intent than ever upon being employed on detective and scouting duty, for which my recent residence in New Orleans had been an excellent schooling; so excellent, indeed, that I considered myself as well out of my apprenticeship, and as quite competent to assume all the responsibilities of the most difficult or dangerous jobs that might be thrust upon me.

I did not doubt that there would be plenty of work for me to do, for throughout the entire West military matters seemed to be in a very mixed condition, and the different armies, both Confederate and Federal, so broken up and scattered, that it must have taxed the energies of the commanding officers on both sides to have kept the run of each other's movements. The Federals, by their victories at Fort Donelson and Shiloh, and several other points, had succeeded in forcing both the first and second Confederate lines of defence, and in penetrating to the heart of the portion of the Confederacy west of the mountains, but they had not been able to complete the conquest they were aiming at; and the possession of the Mississippi — that coveted prize for both parties — was something for which there was still to be done some hard fighting.

I judged that matters ought soon to be approaching a crisis somewhere, although exactly what definite aims the belligerents were driving at, if, indeed, they had any just then, I could not comprehend. I resolved, if a grand movement of any kind was coming off, that I must have a hand in it in some shape; but that if something of importance was not attempted before a great while I would return to Virginia, and see what fortune had in store for me there. I judged, however, that I would not have much difficulty in finding work to do in the west, if I went about looking for it in the right way; and I knew of no better locality in which to seek the information I needed before commencing operations in the field again than Jackson.

To Jackson, therefore, I went, with what haste I could, and arrived just in time to witness an occurrence for which I was sincerely sorry. This was the burning of the Bowman House by Breckenridge's men, who were infuriated at being told that the proprietor had permitted the Federals to occupy the hotel, and that he had entertained them at one third less than he had charged the Confederates who had claimed his hospitalities. The unfortunate man was in reality not to blame in the matter, for the Federals had occupied his house without his consent, and he had taken just what they chose to give him, thinking it better to pocket less than his dues than nothing; and fearing to make any complaint, either about their presence in the hotel, or the money they offered him, lest they should take it into their heads to play him some such trick as the Confederates subsequently did.

The Sufferings Of Non-Combatants.

This incident will serve to show the desperately unpleasant position of the non-combatants throughout this whole region at this and later periods of the war. They were literally between two fires; and no matter how peaceably disposed they might be, they could satisfy neither party, and were made to suffer by both. The proprietor of the Bowman House was forced to witness a fine property destroyed before his eyes through the reckless and unthinking anger of men who never stopped to inquire whether he was guilty or not of any offence against them or their cause before taking vengeance upon him. He was reduced to poverty by the burning of his hotel, and I could not help feeling the keenest regret or the occurrence, although I recognized it as one of the inevitable calamities of warfare.

I was, myself, in the hotel when it was fired, and barely succeeded in escaping from the building with my life. Not expecting any such occurrence, I had taken rooms, and was proceeding to make myself comfortable, when, all of a sudden, I found that it was in flames, and that it would be as much as I could do to get out unscathed. The men who fired the building did not give the proprietor an opportunity to make explanations, or if they did, they refused to believe him. Knowing what the passions of men engaged in warfare are, and how little consideration they are disposed to give those who are suspected of aiding the enemy, I was not altogether surprised at this action, but I thought the officers in command might have succeeded in restraining their soldiers until the exact truth of the matter could have been ascertained.

The next day after this occurrence I visited the camp of General Dan. Adams, from who I gained a number of points which were useful to me in making my arrangements for the future. He gave me a tolerably definite idea of how things stood, and advised me what course to take if I wanted to go into active service again. Among other things, he said it was understood that the Federal General Grierson was on a raid in the direction of Natchez, but he thought he would most likely have a speedy stop put to that kind of performance. As for himself, he told me that he had been ordered to re-enforce General Joe Johnston at Big Black, and that he expected to start for that point shortly. Exactly what was on foot he did not know, but thought it likely that the Federals were about to make an attempt on Vicksburg, and that Johnston intended to be well prepared to receive them in his best style.

Several times already had the Federals made attacks of greater or less importance on Vicksburg, which city was now the most important position held by the Confederacy, and commanding the Mississippi River as it did, its possession was considered a matter of the most vital importance. The fall of Vicksburg, everybody knew, would practically give the Federals possession of the river throughout its entire length; and as such a calamity would, just at this particular junction, be an even greater blow to the Confederate cause than the fall of New Orleans had been, every exertion was being made to render it impregnable. That sooner or later the Federals would make a more determined effort than they had done previously to take this post, appeared to be certain; but the natural advantages of the position were such, and the fortifications in course of construction were so strong, and were being rendered stronger with each succeeding day, that the utmost confidence in the ability of the garrison to hold it was felt by every one.

This confidence, unfortunately, was as ill-founded as had been that felt with regard to other posts; and although the siege of Vicksburg was a heavy task for the Federals to undertake, they did undertake it, and they succeeded in their efforts after a protracted and desperate conflict, in which the Confederates, although ultimately compelled to surrender, won fresh laurels for their pertinacity in fighting, until all hope of prolonging the contest was gone.

Having heard all that General Adams had to say, I took the train for Hazlehurst, and from there I went to a portion of Logan's command and took a look at things, stopping all night with the family of Mayor Wallis. It was here that Lieutenant Colonel Blackburn, of General Grierson's command, was killed subsequently, when that Federal officer made his great raid in April, 1863.

From Hazlehurst I pushed on towards Port Hudson with a message for General Gardner, but was met at Clinton by the special courier of that commander, and delivering the message to him, I hastened back to Jackson.

On my arrival at Jackson I heard of my negro boy Bob, for the first time since I had lost him, just after the battle of Shiloh. I therefore proceeded to Grenada, where I found the darkey, who appeared to be heartily glad to see me again after such a long separation. Bob, it seems, had gone plump into a Federal camp, having missed his road, after I had started him off for Corinth; but not liking the company he found there, had slipped away at the earliest opportunity, and had wandered about in a rather aimless manner for some time, seeking for me. Not being able to hear anything of me, he had made up his mind that I was dead, and was quite surprised to see me turn up again alive and well.

At Jackson I found General Lowering in command, and heard that General Van Dorn had surprised the Federals at Holly Springs, and had captured the entire force there, and an immense quantity of supplies of every description. This event took place on the 20th of April, 1863, and was one of the most brilliant affairs of the whole campaign. The Federals had made Holly Springs a base of supplies, and had collected there everything that was needed for the maintenance of the army in the operations against Vicksburg; but Van Dorn, by one bold and skilfully executed movement, succeeded in giving the impoverished Confederates provisions and munitions of war which they sorely needed, and in damaging the Federals more than a hard-fought battle would have done.

Facing Eastward Again.

From Grenada, I returned once more to Jackson, and found the place in considerable excitement over the prospective army movements; but as there did not seem to be much for me to do in the particular line of business I desired to take up, I now determined to put my old intention of returning to Virginia into execution; and as having once made up my mind to a certain line of action, I was not in the habit of long delaying over it, I was soon speeding eastward again on my way to Richmond.

I should have mentioned, that after leaving New Orleans, I resumed male attire at the earliest possible moment, and figured once more as Lieutenant Harry T. Buford. Perhaps if I had gone to General Johnston, or some other commanding officer of high rank, and frankly stated that I was a woman, giving at the same time a narrative of my exploits, and furnishing references as guarantees of the truthfulness of my story, I would have obtained the kind of employment I was looking for, with permission to use the garments of either sex, as I might deem expedient for the particular errand I had in hand. I sometimes thought that this was what I should have done; but I could not overcome my repugnance to making any one a confidant of my secret, even if by so doing I would have advanced my own interests. In the then condition of affairs, when the different commands were fully organized and disciplined, my position as an independent was even more anomalous than it was at the commencement of the war, and as in the conduct of the peculiar operations then in progress, the generals were necessarily obliged to be particular in whom they confided, it was scarcely to be wondered at that one who, like myself, was endeavoring to play the part of a free-lance, should receive comparatively little countenance.

I appreciated the situation, and yet I could not help being disappointed, that one who had done so well by the Confederacy as myself, and who was so willing to undertake difficult and hazardous tasks, should get such little encouragement, and so I resolved to abandon the west, for the present at least. In Virginia, I thought that I would be likely to have a better chance for distinguishing myself, if only for the reason that the operations of the contending forces were confined to a more limited space than they were in the region I was leaving. I had an idea, too, that in case my claims to consideration at the hands of the authorities were not admitted with the promptness I desired, I would be able to do some business in the way of running through the lines on my own account, just for my own satisfaction, and for the sake of showing what I was capable of.

Once past the Confederate pickets, I believed that I could easily reach Washington; and I felt certain that a skilful spy, such as I esteemed myself now to be, could, without great difficulty, find out plenty of things which the Richmond authorities would be glad to know, and for the furnishing of which they would be glad to extend me such recognition as I desired. The military situation in Virginia, too, was more satisfactory than it was in the west, and I had a hankering to be where the Confederates were occasionally winning some victories. Since I had been in the west, I had witnessed little else than disaster, and I greatly desired to take a hand in a fight when the victory would rest with the Confederates, if only for the sake of variety.

My experiences since leaving New Orleans had not been particularly fruitful, for although I performed several services in satisfactory style for officers to whose notice I brought myself, no opportunity had offered for me to do anything of special moment, or to show the full extent of my capabilities, and, as there did not seem, from the condition things were in, that anything was to be gained by remaining, I was not sorry to leave for the scene of my first exploits as a Confederate soldier.

The war had now been in progress nearly two years, and, although the South had not been conquered, affairs were beginning to look decidedly blue for us. All our fine expectations of an easy achievement of our independence had long since vanished, and the situation every day was getting more and more desperate. The country was becoming exhausted, and had not its natural resources been enormous, our people must, ere this, have given up the contest. As it was, with a large portion of the male population in the field, and with heavy drafts being constantly made upon it to fill the ranks of the armies, the cultivation of the ground was neglected, and the necessities of life every day became scarcer and dearer. We were shut out, too, owing to the stringency of the Federal blockade, from anything like regular intercourse with Europe, and all kinds of manufactured articles, and the food we had been accustomed to import, were held at such enormous figures, that they were utterly beyond the reach of any but the most wealthy. The suffering among the poorer classes in all parts of the South was very great, and in those portions which had been devastated by the tramp of the different armies, many of the people were very nearly on the verge of starvation.

A Serious Question.

It was fast becoming a serious question, how long the contest could be prolonged, unless some signal advantage could speedily be achieved in the field by the Confederate forces. It is impossible to express in words how eagerly all classes looked for the achievement of some such advantage, and how bitter was the disappointment, as month after month wore away, and in spite of occasional victories, the people saw, day by day, the Federals drawing their lines closer and closer, and slowly, but surely, closing in upon them.

We were now entering upon the desperate stage of the war, when the contest was conducted almost against hope, and had the South been inhabited by a less determined race, or one less animated by a fixed resolve to fight to the very last, and until it was impossible to fight any longer, the Federal forces would have succeeded long ere they did in compelling a surrender of the Confederate armies. The men who commanded the armies, however, were not the sort to give up until they were absolutely defeated, and it was starvation, rather than the Federal arms, that at length forced the contest to the conclusion it reached, by the surrender of the armies under the command of Lee and Johnston.

Bad as was the situation at the time of which I am writing, and worse as it was shortly made by the surrender of Vicksburg, and other disasters in the west, and by the lamentable conclusion of Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania, the Confederates fought on for two years longer, with a heroic contempt for defeat, that won for them the admiration of the world. History does not record any such magnificent resistance as the South made; and however opinions may differ with regard to the original merit of the quarrel, not even the bitterest enemies of the Confederate cause can refuse to admit that it was defended with splendid courage.

But it is no part of my purpose to produce a history of the war. The story of the great contest has been written by abler pens than mine. I only aim at giving in plain language an unadorned narrative of the personal experiences of a single adherent of the Confederacy — experiences which gain their chief interest from the fact that they were different in a marked degree from those of any other participant in the war on either side, and I can only hope that the story of my adventures has proved sufficiently attractive to the reader to induce a perusal of it to the end.


Commencement of a new Campaign. — Return to Richmond, and Arrest on Suspicion of being a Woman. — Imprisonment in Castle Thunder. — Kindness to me of Major G. W. Alexander and his Wife. — I refuse to resume the Garments of my Sex. — I am released, and placed on Duty in the Secret Service Corps. — General Winder, the Chief of the Secret Service Bureau. — A remarkable Character. — General Winder sends me with blank Despatches to General Van Dorn to try me. — A Member of the North Carolina Home Guards attempts to arrest me at Charlotte. — I resist the Arrest, and am permitted to proceed. — The Despatches delivered to Van Dorn in Safety. — My Arrest in Lynchburg. — The Rumors that were in Circulation about me. — I am pestered with curious Visitors. — A couple of Ladies deceived by a simple trick. — A comical Interview with an old Lady. — She declares herself insulted. — An insulting Letter from a general Officer. — My indignant Reply, and offer to fight him. — I obtain my Release, and leave Lynchburg.

I WAS now about to commence a new campaign, and to enter upon experiences of another kind from those through which I had just passed. The condition of affairs was materially different in an infinite number of ways from what it had been when I first sought the Confederate capital with rather vague dreams of glory floating through my brain, but with considerable confidence that the Federal forces, against whom the brave boys of the South were marching, would melt away before them, and that I and my comrades in arms would, ere many days, have the flag of the Confederacy floating from the dome of the Capitol at Washington, and, perhaps, indulge in a march through a portion of the North, just for the sake of convincing the Yankees that they had been rash in meddling with us.

Well, we met the forces sent out against us by the Federal government, and long before the close of the day they were running back as fast as their legs would take them to their intrenchments before Washington. The flag-raising on the Capitol, and the march through the North, were deferred by those who were managing affairs on our side to a more convenient opportunity, and the grand chance for winning the great stakes for which we were fighting was lost, never to be regained. Just as at Shiloh, the hesitation to follow up a brilliant victory, and make it complete by the capture or annihilation of the enemy, lost us the field, and inflicted upon us a most humiliating defeat, so at Bull Run, a similar hesitating policy lost us not merely the substantial results of victory, but inflicted upon us four years' of slaughter, during which the Federals closed in upon us gradually, until at length they were able to crush us.

I mean no disparagement to the brave soldiers and the skilful commanders on the Federal side, when I express the opinion that, as a rule, the Confederates were better fighters, and were better officered, than their opponents. There was inefficiency somewhere, however, in the management of military affairs on our side. We never seemed to be able to follow up our successes, or to gain permanent results from our victories, no matter how brilliant they might be. The Federals, on the other hand, had a way of staying, when they once got to a place, that was most disheartening; and one after another the strongest and most important of the Confederate posts fell into their hands, never to be regained, until finally they won the grand prize for which, during four long, weary years, vast armies had contended in vain, and, by the capture of Richmond, virtually ended the contest.

At the time of which I am writing, however, the capture of Richmond, although constantly threatened, was a long way off yet, and some trying days were to come before the abandonment of the capital would give the signal to Southern hearts, weary of strife, but hoping against hope, that even Hope itself was dead.

Richmond, however, was a very different place from what it was on my last visit to it, as I soon found to my cost. Martial law was in force in its most rigorous aspect, and General Winder, the chief of the secret service bureau, and his emissaries, were objects of terror to everybody, rich and poor. Beleaguered as Richmond was, every person was more or less an object of suspicion, and strangers, especially, were watched with a vigilance that left them few opportunities to do mischief, or were put under arrest, and placed in close confinement, without scruple, if Winder or his officers took it into their heads that this would be the most expeditious way of disposing of them.

Under Arrest In Richmond.

It is not surprising, therefore, that almost immediately upon my arrival in Richmond I fell under the surveillance of Winder as a suspicious character, and was called upon to give an account of myself. My story was not accepted in the same spirit of credibility that some rather tough yarns I had manufactured in the course of my career, for the purpose of satisfying the curiosity of inquisitive people, had been. The fact that my secret had already been several times discovered, was against me to begin with; then my disguise was not in as good order as it had been when I first assumed it; and my papers were not of such a definite character as to inspire respect in the minds of the Richmond police authorities. There was, evidently, something suspicious and mysterious about me; and, suspicion having once been excited, some lynx-eyed detective was not long in noting certain feminine ways I had, and which even my long practice in figuring as a man had not enabled me to get rid of; and the result was, that I was arrested on the charge of being a woman in disguise, and supposably a Federal spy, and was conducted to Castle Thunder, to reflect upon the mutabilities of fortune, until I could give a satisfactory account of myself.

I thought that this was rather hard lines; but as good luck often comes to us in the guise of present tribulation, as matters turned out it was the very best thing that could have happened to me, for it compelled me to reveal myself and my plans to persons who were willing and able to aid me, and to tell my story to friendly and sympathetic ears.

The commander of Castle Thunder was Major G. W. Alexander, a gentleman who, ever since I made his acquaintance through being committed to his custody as a prisoner, I have always been proud to number among my best and most highly-esteemed friends. Major Alexander, and his lovely wife, both showed the greatest interest in me, and they treated me with such kindness and consideration that I was induced to tell them exactly who I was, what my purposes were in assuming the male garb, what adventures I had passed through, and what my aspirations were for the future. They not only believed my story, but thinking that my services to the Confederacy merited better treatment than I was then receiving at the hands of the authorities, interested themselves greatly in my behalf.

Both the major and his wife — but the lady, especially — seemed to be shocked, however, at the idea of a woman dressing herself in the garb of the other sex, and attempting to play the part of a soldier; and they eagerly urged me to resume the proper costume of my sex again, assuring me that there would be plenty of work for me to do, if I were disposed still to devote myself to the service of the Confederacy. The major, however, was evidently impressed with the narrative I had given him of my exploits, and was convinced that if regularly enlisted in the secret service corps I would be able to render assistance of the first value. He, however, was urgent that I should abandon my disguise, and represented, in forcible terms, the dangers I ran in persisting in wearing it.

To these remonstrances I turned a deaf ear. I had passed through too many real trials to be frightened by imaginary ones, and I did not like to change my costume under compulsion. I accordingly refused positively to put on the garments of a woman, except as a means of gaining my liberty, and with the full intention of resuming male attire at the earliest opportunity.

Major Alexander, therefore, finding me fixed in my determination to have my own way, undertook to have matters arranged to my satisfaction without putting me to the necessity of discarding my disguise, in representing my case to General Winder, and inducing him to give me a trial in his corps.

In The Secret Service.

General Winder ordered my release, and, assigning me to a position in the secret service corps, he proceeded to play a very characteristic trick upon me, for the purpose of testing my fidelity and my abilities. The trick was neatly played; but I got the best of the general to such an extent that he was tolerably well convinced that I was both trustworthy, and that I was quite wide awake enough to take good care of myself even against such a sharp practitioner as himself.

General Winder was one of the most remarkable men I became acquainted with during my whole career as an officer and a spy in the Confederate service. He was a venerable, pleasant-looking old gentleman, with white hair, and a rather agreeable expression of countenance that was well calculated to deceive superficial observers with regard to his real character. He had a most confiding, plausible way about him, and an air of general benevolence, that completely masked the hardness of his heart, and imposed so on his victims, that, until they found themselves fairly caught in his cunningly-laid traps, they were unwilling to believe him to be the desperate old sinner he really was. Calculated as General Winder was to leave a favorable impression at first glance, he would not bear inspection. No man of strongly-marked character can long conceal his real self from those who are accustomed to study human nature; and a very slight acquaintance with Winder sufficed to convince me that he was a dangerous man to trifle with, and that cruelty and rapacity were among his predominant traits. His eyes were hard, cold, and piercing, and there was a wicked twist about his mouth that was far from being reassuring. I do not believe that man had such a thing as a conscience; that he was utterly unscrupulous with regard to the means he took for the accomplishment of his ends, I know. He was a most valuable officer, however, and I doubt whether another individual in the whole Confederacy could have been found who would have commanded the secret service corps with the signal ability he did.

General Winder Plays A Trick On Me.

Such was the new commander under whom I was now to go on duty, and who, when he consented to release me from prison, and give me employment, prepared as pretty a trap as was ever devised for catching an innocent. The trap was sprung in first-rate style, but the intended victim was agile enough to slip through the wires, and the result was that General Winder had nothing but his trouble for his pains. I believe it would have delighted him to have caught me, much more than it did to have it proved, by his ingeniously-arranged device, that I was all that I pretended to be, and that the probabilities were all in favor of my being able to become a most efficient ally.

I was a little taken in by Winder's plausible manner at first, and I really did not have a fair chance of studying his character before I was compelled to submit myself to the test which he prepared for me. From what I saw and heard of him, however, I easily arrived at the conclusion that he was a hard customer to deal with, and that I would have to be unusually wary if I wanted to avoid getting into trouble with him. I had, however, unlimited confidence in my own abilities, and accepted the commission he gave me as a secret service agent with a determination to carry out my instructions to the letter at all hazards.

Furnishing me with transportation, General Winder started me off with despatches for General Earl Van Dorn. The despatches were simply a lot of blank papers, and a letter explaining the little game Winder was playing with me.

A North Carolina Militia-Man Tries To Arrest Me.

Unsuspicious of any evil intentions on the part of the white-headed, benevolent-looking old gentleman, I hastened to execute my orders, but suddenly found myself brought up at Charlotte, N. C., with a round turn, as the sailors say. Winder had telegraphed to the provost marshal at Charlotte to have me arrested; and accordingly, when the train stopped at that place, a gawky member of the North Carolina home-guard put in an appearance, took me into custody, and demanded the papers I had in my pocket. It now flashed upon me that Winder had put up a job on me, and I resolved that he should not have the satisfaction of succeeding, if I could help it.

I accordingly measured my captor with my eye, and saw at a glance that he was not the brightest-witted specimen ever created, and concluded that if I only put on enough dignity I would have no serious difficulty in getting the best of him. It was evidently somewhat of a novelty for the tar-heeled home-guarder to arrest an officer; and while he felt the importance of the occasion immensely, he was in some degree of trepidation, especially when he saw that I was not disposed to acknowledge his authority.

I refused to give up the papers, and demanded, in the severest manner I could command, what right he had to undertake to make the arrest of an officer of the Confederate army travelling under orders. He showed me his orders, which I was forced to acknowledge were correct, but still declined either to give up the papers or to submit to an arrest.

I, however, promptly offered to return to Richmond with them, and report at headquarters to General Winder.

This completely nonplussed him, and he was in a terrible quandary. His orders to arrest me were positive, and he was confident that there was something wrong about me. My prompt offer to return and see Winder, however, convinced him that there must be some mistake, and he was in an agony to know what course he had better pursue.

I pitied the poor fellow's perplexity, but could scarcely help from laughing in his face at his desperate stupidity. He blinked his eyes at a terrible rate, and great drops of sweat oozed from his forehead, which he wiped off with the sleeve of his jacket, as he tried to argue the matter with me. I, however, would not give in in the least, and seeing that he did not have the slightest comprehension of the duties of his office, and was puzzled to know what to do, I suggested that a telegraphic despatch should be sent back to headquarters, asking for further instructions. This settled the case effectually; and with a little further parley I was released, and was soon on my way again. I don't know whether Winder ever took any notice of this most admirable exhibition of inefficiency on the part of the gallant defender of the homes of Charlotte, but I thought that if I were in his place, I would take some pains to discipline this particular tar-heel into some adequate appreciation of the necessity for obeying orders, no matter who was hurt. The adventure afforded me considerable amusement, when I was well through with it, and I could not but laugh whenever the comical expression of the puzzled North Carolinian presented itself to my mind's eye.

Without more interruption or delay I proceeded on my journey, and finally reached General Van Dorn, to whom I delivered my package of supposed despatches. He read Winder's letter, and looked through the lot of blanks which had accompanied them; then, glancing at me, he burst into a laugh, which indicated that he saw something funny in the proceeding, and after a few questions, he ordered me to return. This might be good fun for Van Dorn and Winder; but I did not particularly admire having been sent all this distance on such a fool's errand, and was very much disposed to resent it. A little reflection, however, told me that it was none of my business what the pretended despatches were, and that as I had accomplished my errand according to order, and without falling into the snare that General Winder himself had evidently set for me, I had every reason to be satisfied, and would probably find, on getting back to Richmond, that he was satisfied also.

I was anxious to reach Richmond at as early a day as possible, for I heard a number of rumors which induced me to believe that another great battle was shortly to be fought, and I was immediately seized with a furious desire to be on hand for the purpose of taking part in it. Despite the terrible scenes through which I had passed, despite the severe wound I had received, and from which my arm was still stiff, the prospect of joining in another fight had an irresistible fascination for me. I found, however, on reaching Richmond, that there was no present chance for a battle, and consequently settled myself down as contentedly as possible to do whatever work might be assigned me in the secret service department.

It seemed to be an impossibility for me now to avoid getting into continual trouble about my disguise. Not only were a number of people fully informed of all the particulars of my career since the outbreak of the war, but it began to be whispered about among the soldiers and citizens that a woman dressed as a man had been discovered, and some highly-exaggerated rumors with regard to my exploits were diligently circulated. My having received a wound, shortly after the battle of Shiloh, appeared to be a particularly attractive episode to the minds of many people; and my performances at that battle were believed, in some quarters, to have been of a most extraordinary nature. Indeed, I do not know but that some people thought me the commander-in-chief of the Confederate forces on the occasion, while I was credited with exploits of unparalleled heroism.

Inconveniences Of Celebrity.

This sort of rather indefinite celebrity might have amused me, and pleased my vanity, were it not the source of much annoyance. Not only did the report that this woman-soldier had come to Virginia have a tendency to attract attention to me, and to excite suspicions that might never have occurred to any one, but the extraordinary vigilance that was exercised on all sides to prevent spies from pursuing their occupations in safety, and to prevent deserters from escaping, was sure to occasion me troubles of various kinds. I felt out of the reach of serious danger, it is true, having been assigned to duty in the secret service corps by General Winder; but the fact of my being in this corps would not prevent my arrest and detention at any time if somebody should take a fancy to believe that I was not all that my outward appearances represented.

I was vexed, therefore, but scarcely surprised, when, shortly after my return from my trip to Van Dorn's headquarters, on taking a run over to Lynchburg, I was again arrested on the charge of being a woman in disguise. My sword was taken from me, and I was otherwise treated with a good deal more rudeness than I thought there was any occasion for; and this treatment had the effect of making me obstinate, and indisposed to give my captors any satisfaction with regard to who I was, and for a considerable time I stood out strongly for my rights as an officer in the Confederate army. I was subjected to a brief examination before his honor the mayor, but refused to commit myself; and it very soon became apparent that my captors were in somewhat of a quandary as to the best course to pursue with regard to me. It was finally, however, decided to hold me for the present, and I was assigned to tolerably comfortable quarters, where I proceeded to make myself as much at home as I could.

The Fun Commences.

Now the fun commenced. It having become rumored about that a woman, disguised as a Confederate officer, had been arrested, all the curiosity-seekers of the town became immensely excited, especially as the most exaggerated reports of my heroic deeds on the battle-field and elsewhere were in circulation, and everybody — the women in particular — evinced the most eager desire to see the heroine of innumerable bloody conflicts.

I began to be pestered with visitors, who plied me with all sorts of questions, some of them most insulting ones, but which I was compelled to refrain from getting angry at for fear of betraying myself. My position was a most unpleasant one, and it required very skilful management for me to play the part of a man to advantage. What gave piquancy to the situation was, that, while it was generally believed I was a woman, and the particular woman whose exploits had reached their ears, my visitors were none of them quite sure which sex I belonged to, and all their efforts were directed to solving the mystery.

While the attentions I received from the good citizens of Lynchburg, and particularly from the women folk of that town, were all in a greater or less degree annoying, some of my interviews with the visitors who persisted in calling upon me were decidedly amusing, and caused me much hearty laughter.

On one occasion I heard feminine voices and footsteps approaching, and prepared myself for the ordeal which I would be compelled to go through with. During the two years and more I had been wearing male attire, I had not only learned the general carriage of a man, but had picked up a good many little masculine traits, which I had practised until I was quite perfect in them. I relied greatly upon these to aid me in maintaining my incognito, for they were eminently characteristic, and well calculated to throw a suspicious person off guard. So, when I heard these visitors coming, I stuck my feet up on the window-sill, and, just as they were opening the door, I turned my head, and spit.

This action attracted the attention of the youngest of the two ladies who were entering, immediately; and I heard her say in a whisper to the elder, "O, ma, that can't be a woman! See how he spits!" I saw that my little ruse was a success, and laughed inwardly at the impression it made on the ladies.

They were a mother and daughter, and had evidently come to remonstrate with me, in good set terms, about the impropriety of my costume. One little peculiarly mannish gesture, however, so completely confounded them that they did not venture to approach the subject they had in their minds except in the most roundabout way. They were very nice people, and were disposed to be as kind to me as they possibly could; but I did not think proper to give them any satisfaction with regard to what they were most concerned about; and, after a somewhat embarrassed conversation, during which they offered to serve me in any way in their power, they took their departure as wise as they came.

Comical Interview With An Old Lady.

Not long after, I had another visitor of a somewhat different kind. This was a motherly old lady, who seemed to consider that her years and experience gave her a right to speak to me in plain words, whether I was a man or a woman. She accordingly, without any ceremony, began to subject me to a very rigid cross-examination; but I replied to her questions in a manner that was anything but to her satisfaction. The result was, that both of us at length began to be somewhat vexed, and, as I could not understand what right she had to undertake such a task as that she was then engaged in, and considered her behavior impertinent in the extreme, I resolved to say a few words that I thought would settle her.

Finding that she could not obtain any definite answers to her questions, she finally said, "Well, all I've got to say is, that if you really are a young man, you deserve credit for what you have done to advance the interests of the cause. If you are a woman, however, you are disgracing your sex by dressing yourself up in men's clothes, and attempting to be a soldier. If you wanted to serve your country, you might have found some other way of doing it, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself."

This made me a little mad, but I kept cool, and, shrugging my shoulders, said, in as deliberate a manner as possible, looking the old lady straight in the eyes, "Well, madam, as you seem to be in doubt about my sex, and are apparently exceedingly anxious to find out whether I am a man or a woman, allow me to suggest that the facts of the case can very readily be established to your satisfaction. Suppose you — " But it would be cruelty to the reader to give the rest of my reply, so I will leave it unrecorded.

It had an astonishing effect, however, on my visitor. She got red in the face, her eyes flashed, and, muttering something that I did not hear, she bounced out of the room, leaving me to enjoy a hearty laugh at the comical termination of the adventure. My irate visitor went down stairs in hot haste, and, in a terrible state of excitement, informed the mayor that that nasty little fellow had insulted her. The supposed insult I explained in such a way that the laugh was fairly turned upon the ancient dame.

If such occurrences as these had been the only annoyances to which I was subjected, no particular harm would have been done, but, rather, considerable amusement would have been afforded me. To my surprise and indignation, however, I received one day the following letter from a general officer, with whom I was acquainted, and whom I had hitherto regarded as something of a gentleman: —

"Lieutenant Harry T. Buford, C. S. A.

"Dear Sir: If you will accept a position on my staff as one of my aids, I can obtain for you your release from the civil authorities. You will have a pleasant time. I will furnish you with a fine horse, and you can share my quarters and my mess."

The meaning of this did not require explanation. It stung me to the heart, that a man who had fought with me on the same field of battle should offer me such an indignity, situated as I was; and I was so overcome with rage at the insult that I would have killed him, without thought of the consequences to myself, could I have reached him. I replied instantly to his note, stating that I would meet him at any time and place he might designate, and that I would either kill him or he would have to kill me, for I was resolved that no man should insult me with impunity. I heard no more from him; and when I gained my freedom once more, he was gone. At that time the writer of this insulting note was single, but now he is married; and it is only for the sake of his noble little wife and his family that I refrain from branding his name with infamy. I am informed that he always speaks of me with the highest respect; but, as I have no respect for him, I care not what his opinion of me may be.

Finally, I obtained my release; and having had quite enough of Lynchburg, and being anxious to escape from the gaze of the impertinently curious people, who watched my every motion, I took my departure without any delay.


At Charlotte, North Carolina. — Arrival of Longstreet's Corps, on its Way to re-enforce Bragg's Army. — I obtain Permission for myself and other Officers to go on the Train southward. — I arrive in Atlanta, Georgia, and receive Letters from several Members of my Family. — I learn for the first time that my Brother is in the Confederate Army. — I receive Information of the Officer to whom I am engaged to be married, and whom I have not seen since the Battle of Shiloh. — I make an Attempt to reach him, but am unable to do so. — Failing in an Endeavor to become attached to General Armstrong's Command, I determine to undertake an Expedition through the Lines. — Finding a Supply of female Garments in a deserted Farm-house, I attire Myself as a Woman. — My Uniform hid in an Ash-barrel. — An Invasion of the Dairy. — I start for the Federal Lines.

FROM Lynchburg I went to Charlotte, North Carolina, where the home-guard officer had attempted to arrest me while carrying through General Winder's blank despatches to Van Dorn. I had some curiosity to meet this individual again, as I thought I would like to make his acquaintance. I did not have the pleasure of seeing him, however; but I did see quite a number of officers and soldiers who had collected at this point, under orders to return to their commands without delay, and who were waiting for transportation. Many of these were old friends and acquaintances of mine, and I proceeded to make myself at home among them, and also among the good people of Charlotte, taking particular pains, according to my usual custom, to be as agreeable as I could to the ladies; for, notwithstanding my recent little unpleasantness with the Richmond and Lynchburg authorities with regard to my right to wear male attire, I till was inspired by some ambition to achieve a reputation as a ladies' man. I succeeded as well as I usually did when attempting to play this rôle, and managed to enjoy myself immensely, although I am not aware that I inflicted any irreparable damage upon the hearts of the fair ones of Charlotte.

This was in the summer of 1863. General Lee had invaded Pennsylvania, had been defeated at Gettysburg, and had returned to Virginia, to resume again the defence of Richmond. His army was shattered, but defiant still, and, as events proved, was quite competent to do as hard fighting as it ever did, and to ward off the always impending Federal attack on the Confederate capital for a good while to come. But, with the battle of Gettysburg, the important work of the summer in that quarter had culminated, and the attention of the entire Confederacy was now anxiously directed to Eastern Tennessee, where the Federal General Rosecrans was pushing forward, with the evident intention of striking a damaging blow somewhere, and perhaps of forcing his way into Georgia. It was in resisting the forces of Rosecrans, therefore, that distinction was to be won, and not by remaining in the neighborhood of Richmond. As I always liked to be where the heaviest fighting was going on, I concluded that I ought to set my face southward if I hoped to win any laurels.

Hearing that Longstreet's corps had been detached from Lee's army before Richmond, and ordered to re-enforce Bragg, I concluded to wait in Charlotte until it made its appearance on its way southward, and, if possible, travel with it to its destination. A good many of the officers waiting in Charlotte were anxious to take advantage of this opportunity to obtain transportation back to their commands, but it was reported that no one would be permitted to go on the train except Longstreet's own men. It would have been a very serious disappointment and some trouble to many who did not know when they would have such another chance to reach the scene of action, and there was a good deal of growling at the prospect that a prolonged stay in Charlotte might be necessary, when their services were so much needed elsewhere.

I, however, had made up my mind to make a determined effort to go, at every hazard, despite the orders to the contrary; and I proposed to some of the officers, who were impatient to get off, that we should have an interview with General Longstreet, and endeavor to impress upon his mind the imperative necessity we were under of rejoining our regiments immediately. There was a difference of opinion, however, about the expediency and propriety of this course, and no one was willing to take the responsibility of doing the necessary talking. As no one else would undertake the task of interviewing Longstreet on the subject, I resolved to represent the situation to him myself.

An Interview With Longstreet.

After the arrival of his corps in Charlotte I watched for a good opportunity, and at length espied him engaged in conversation with General Jenkins. I therefore went up, and, making a salute, stated to General Longstreet that a number of officers who were ordered to join their regiments immediately were unable to proceed for lack of transportation, and asked if we might not go on with him; for, if we did not, great inconvenience would be caused to ourselves and to the army. The general hesitated somewhat, but after asking me several questions about who we were, how many there were of us, where we were going, &c., he acceded to my request. I made known the success of my mission to the rest, and so, jumping on board the train, we managed to get through.

I was determined, however, that in case Longstreet refused, I would wait until the very last minute, and then jump on the engine or tender, believing that, in an emergency like this, the best plan is to take the law into one's own hands. It is true that, had I attempted this, I might have been put off; but I did not think this very likely, but rather thought that I would probably win the favor of the general, by showing him that I was bent upon getting to the front at the earliest possible moment. At all events, I was willing to have taken the chances of getting through in proper style.

On reaching Atlanta, I had the gratification of receiving a number of letters from relatives from whom I had not heard for many months. There were two from my father, one from my sister in Matanzas, and one from my brother, in the trans-Mississippi department. This was the first time in nine months I had heard from my brother, and it was the first intimation I had that he was in the army. It was a great delight for me to receive these letters, as, though I had been long separated from my relatives, they were often in my thoughts, and I remembered them with the tenderest affection. I was, as may be supposed, particularly well pleased to learn that my brother was in the Confederate service, but I was glad that he was so far off that there was not much danger of my meeting him; for I felt certain that he would object, in no measured terms, to my course in assuming male attire for the purpose of doing a share of the fighting, and feared that we might quarrel about it.

Some Good News.

Shortly after my arrival in Atlanta, however, I heard something that delighted me even more than the receipt of these letters from my near and dear relatives. This was that Captain De Caulp was near Spring Hill with Van Dorn. This bit of particularly interesting information I obtained from a soldier of the third Arkansas regiment. I had not seen the captain since the battle of Shiloh, where I fought by his side, or at least under his eye, during nearly the whole of the conflict, succeeding in winning his commendation for my courage, without exciting any suspicion in his mind that I was the woman upon whom his affections were bestowed. So soon as I heard that he was in my vicinity, I was seized with an intense desire to meet him again; for I was greatly in love with him, and it afforded me the keenest delight to hear praises of myself from his lips, and he all the while thinking that he was addressing them to a third party.

I don't suppose, since the commencement of the world, so strange a courtship as ours was ever carried on. It is certain that not many women have had the same opportunities as myself to find out, from their own lips, exactly how fond of them their expected husbands really are. The situation, I confess, had a wonderful fascination for me, for there were intensely romantic elements in it, that addressed themselves, in the strongest manner, to my imagination. To have been able to fight by the side of my lover in one of the greatest battles of the war, and to be praised by him for my valor, were of themselves matters for intense satisfaction; and I often imagined how it would be after the war was over, and we would be able to compare notes and relate our adventures to each other. But, alas! before the war would be over there was much that both of us would be compelled to endure of toil and suffering; and the peaceful, happy home that my fervid imagination pictured was but a dream, and nothing more.

At the time of which I write, however, a desire to see Captain De Caulp again was the uppermost thought in my mind, and I was almost more than half resolved to give him a surprise by revealing myself to him. Whether to do this or not was a question that I debated with myself most seriously while on my way to join him. The fact that I was a woman had now been so often discovered, that it was probable he might at any moment learn that his expected wife and Lieutenant Harry T. Buford were one and the same; and, not knowing what he might think of the course I had pursued in assuming male attire, I dreaded having any one but myself discover my secret to him. In addition to this, I loved him most fondly; and, although inspired by a sense of the duties I owed to the cause for which I had taken up arms, I endeavored to control my feelings, and to regard my marriage with Captain De Caulp as not to be thought of until the time came for both to forsake the battle-field, and to think no more of warfare but as something we were done with forever.

Cupid's Tyranny.

I would have been less than human, however, if sometimes I did not desire most ardently to be with him, and to hear from my lover's lips the terms of endearment which are the sweetest music a woman's ears can be greeted by, and to be courted by him as other women were by the men who had won their affections. I knew that, in many respects, it would be better for me to remain at a distance from Captain De Caulp; but I was moved by an inscrutable impulse at this time to go to him, and I was almost willing, if he should say so, to abandon the army, and to permanently resume the garments of my sex. I did not propose, however, to do this if it could be avoided, and the leading idea in my mind was, in the event of my concluding to reveal myself to him, to go through the rest of the war with him, and to fight constantly by his side, as the Italian heroine, Bona Lombardi, did by the side of her husband, Brunaro. The course which I would ultimately pursue, however, I finally determined should be governed by circumstances, but that, at all events, I would make an effort to see my lover again.

So soon as I found that Captain De Caulp was near at hand, I took the train for the point nearest to where I learned that Van Dorn's command was stationed. Getting off at Tyner's Station, I obtained a horse, and started off in the direction of Chickamauga. At this point I fell in with General Pegram's cavalry, and had the great pleasure of seeing the handsome General Frank Armstrong, an officer for whom I entertained an intense admiration.

I remember once saying to Major Bacon, who at that time had not the slightest idea who I really was, "I wonder how any woman could help falling in love with Frank. If I was a woman, I would be in love with him." Indeed, I fear that if my affections had not already been engaged, General Armstrong would have captured them. General Armstrong was a tall, fine looking man, dark complexioned, with regular and very handsome features, jet black hair and eyes, and with mustache and side whiskers that became him immensely. His uniform always fitted him exactly, and was exceedingly becoming to him. He was not a gay or dashing sort of man, but firm and decisive in his manners and appearance, and he always seemed to be what he was, — a true officer and gentleman. From General Pegram I learned that it would be very difficult, and, indeed, almost impossible, for me to reach Van Dorn, and I therefore concluded to remain where I was, and to endeavor to become attached to General Armstrong's command. After waiting for some time, however, and finding that there was no chance for me to do this, I turned back as far as Ringold. At this place I met some of the officers and men of the tenth Tennessee regiment, with whom I was acquainted, and from whom I obtained some ideas with regard to the general situation of affairs, which induced me to make rather different plans from those which I had been endeavoring to carry out.

In A Quandary.

In fact, I was in somewhat of a quandary, and scarcely knew exactly what to do with myself so as to dispose of my time to the best advantage. I saw plainly, as matters were then, that it would be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, for me to join Van Dorn's command, whereas, if I waited patiently for a little while, Captain De Caulp would most likely come my way, and I would be able to meet him sooner by waiting for him than by going after him. I was too impatient, however, to pass my time in idleness, and felt as if I must do something for the cause and my own credit as a soldier.

It really appeared to be more trouble than it was worth to endeavor to persuade any of the general officers to assign me to the particular kind of duty I desired; and, as I had been decidedly successful in more than one expedition, planned and executed by myself, and on my own responsibility, I resolved to undertake another one, just for the sake of keeping myself busy, and of seeing what would come of it. I felt very confident that if I could make a big hit, my services as a spy would be in heavy demand, for there was evidently going to be some close fighting, and the movements of the enemy would need watching at every point.

My Washington trip, just after the battle of Ball's Bluff, suggested a general method of procedure; but in a great number of ways the present situation was a far more difficult and dangerous one, and would require the exercise of all the wits I had — wits that had been tolerably well sharpened by over two years of severe experience, both as a soldier and as a spy. I was even more reckless now than I was then, but my recklessness was that of a veteran, who scorns danger when there is a necessity for braving it, but who does not expose himself any more than there is occasion for, or run himself against rifle bullets just for the fun of the thing. While well aware of the risks I incurred, however, I had an unlimited faith in my own tact and skill, and did not doubt my ability to accomplish my proposed adventure in safety, and with satisfactory results.

Planning An Expedition.

My idea now was to run through the lines, and take a good view of the situation from the Federal standpoint, and I knew that the safest and best way of doing this — if, indeed, not the only one — was to go as a woman; for, in the proper attire of my sex it would be easier for me to pass the pickets, and avoid being suspected of having any end in view to which objection could be taken. The only difficulty in the way of accomplishing my object was in procuring suitable clothing without attracting attention. As there were a number of houses in the vicinity from which the people had fled, some of them in great haste, when they found themselves likely to be in the midst of contending armies, it occurred to me that in all probability I would be able to find what I wanted in some one of them.

I, therefore, commenced a search, and soon came to a dwelling that promised to supply me with everything I needed; for, from such views of the interior as I could get, the people seemed to have gone off, and left nearly all their goods behind them. I, accordingly, concluded to make an investigation, to see if my surmises were correct, and forced my way in through one of the back windows. Sure enough, I found an abundance of female clothing to select from, and proceeded forthwith to appropriate the best outfit the wardrobe of the absent mistress of the establishment afforded, never doubting but that, as she must be a good Confederate, she would highly approve of my conduct, could she be informed of the use to which her dresses and underwear were being put.


Having completed my toilet, and transformed myself from a gallant young Confederate officer into a reasonably good-looking woman, I packed a carpet-bag with a change of clothing, and other articles, such as I thought might be useful on a journey. Before making a start, however, there were several matters to be attended to. My uniform was to be disposed of, and, as I was a trifle hungry, I thought that if any provisions were obtainable, a good meal would aid me materially in getting along comfortably.

My uniform I folded up carefully and put into a pillow-case, and in looking about for a place to bestow it, where it would be least likely to be discovered or disturbed, I concluded that an ash-barrel which I found would answer my purpose exactly. I therefore put the pillow-case, containing the garments, into the barrel, and, covering it with ashes, placed it, with the mouth turned towards the smoke-house, in a corner where it would. not be apt to attract attention.

This arrangement being effected, I next went into the dairy in search of food, and found enough to supply the demands of my hunger, although the bill of fare was, perhaps, not all that I would have desired, had I been permitted any choice in the matter. I succeeded, however, in making a tolerably hearty meal, by eating some raw ham, and all the preserves I could find. Having despatched such eatables as I was able to lay my hands upon, I picked up my carpet-bag, and made directly for the enemy's lines. I knew that the bold way was the best way, in the execution of such an enterprise as that upon which I was now starting, and that the correct plan was to strike directly for headquarters, with a plausible story to tell, rather than to attempt to slip past the pickets and run the risk of being detected, and of being compelled to give an account of myself, under suspicion of being upon some objectionable errand. Until actually within the Federal lines, however, I would be, so to speak, between two fires, and would stand a chance of being used quite as roughly by my friends as by the enemy; and it was important, therefore, for me to make the distance I had to go as quickly as I could, and yet to avoid appearing in too much of a hurry, in case any one should happen to see me. I judged that I would be able to pass the Confederate lines without any very great trouble, as I was not able to note any picket posts in the vicinity of the house which had so conveniently been left standing by its owners, with everything in it that I wanted for the particular errand I was on. But I knew that it would not do to rely too much on appearances in such a situation as this, and that I was liable to have an individual armed with musket or sabre put in an appearance at any moment, and demand to know who I was, and what I was prowling about there for.

The dangers attending the enterprise, however, gave it a certain pleasurable excitement, such as it otherwise would not have had, and I enjoyed it, after a fashion, immensely — even more than I did the excitement of a battle. In a battle, a single combatant, no matter how valorous he may be, is lost in the crowd; and as his individuality is, in a large measure, merged in that of his regiment or brigade, so the dependence of the issue upon single, personal effort is something that it is difficult to appreciate. In attempting such a bit of work, however, as I now had on hand, my own personality necessarily asserted itself in the strongest manner. The plan of action was mine; its execution depended upon myself; mine alone was the peril; and should I succeed in accomplishing my first point, in gaining the Federal lines in safety, the prosecution of my enterprise would be a contest of wits between myself and those with whom I was brought in contact, and from whom I expected to gain the information I was after. For these reasons I found a keener enjoyment in the performance of spy duty than I did in doing the work of a soldier; and, although I would not have missed, on any account, the experience I underwent during the first two years of the war, especially those incident to being a participant in such hard-fought battles as Bull Run, Ball's Bluff, Fort Donelson, and Shiloh, my career during the latter part of the great contest, when I was, for the most part, acting as a spy within the enemy's lines, was in many ways much the most interesting to myself. Whether the narrative of it will prove the most interesting portion of this volume, I, of course, cannot tell. I hope, however, that the reader, having followed the story of my fortunes and misfortunes thus far, will have sufficient curiosity to keep with me to the end.


The Duties of Spies. — The Necessity for their Employment. — The Status of Spies, and the extraordinary Perils they run. — Some Remarks about the Secret Service, and the Necessity for its Improvement. — I reach the Federal Lines, and obtain a Pass to go North from General Rosecrans. — On my Travels in search of Information. — Arrival at Martinsburg, and am put in the Room of a Federal Officer. — A Disturbance in the Night. — "Who is that Woman?" — I make an advantageous Acquaintance. — A polite Quartermaster. — All about a pretended dead Brother. — How Secret Service Agents go about their Work. — A Visit to my pretended Brother's Grave, and what I gained by it. — I succeed in giving one of Mosby's Pickets an important bit of Information. — The polite Attention of Federal Officers. — I return to Chatanooga, and resume my Confederate Uniform. — A perilous Attempt to reach the Confederate Lines. — What a Drink of Whiskey can do. — I become Lame in my wounded Foot, and am sent to Atlanta for medical Treatment.

THE position and duties of spies are little understood by persons who have had no actual experience of warfare, and who, consequently, are unable to understand the multitude of agencies it is requisite for the commanders of armies and the heads of governments, which may find it necessary to make an appeal to arms in order to settle their differences, to resort to for the accomplishment of the ends they have in view. Just as the quartermaster, the commissary, the paymaster, and the surgeon are as important as the generals, — if any fighting worthy of the name is to be done, and warfare is to be an affair of science and skill, instead of a mere trial of brute force, — so the spy, who will be able to obtain information of the movements of the enemy; who will discover the plans for campaigns and battles that are being arranged; who will intercept despatches; who will carry false intelligence to the enemy, and who, when he does become possessed of any fact worth knowing, will prove himself prompt and reliable in taking it, or sending it to headquarters, is indispensable to the success of any movement.

The spy, however, occupies a different position from that held by any other attaché of an army. According to all military law he is an outlaw, and is liable to be hung if detected — the death of a soldier even being denied him. Nothing has been left undone to render the labors of the spy not only perilous in the extreme, but infamous; and yet the spy is nothing more nor less than a detective officer, and there cannot be any good and sufficient reason assigned for the discredit which attaches to his occupation. It is simply one of the prejudices which, having no substantial foundation, have been carefully fostered by military men for their own purposes, and it is high time that it should be given up by sensible people.

Spies And Their Labors.

During the war a vast deal of the most important kind of work was performed by spies on both sides, and these secret emissaries, men and women, labored with a diligence, a zeal, and an intelligence in the execution of tasks of enormous peril, that was rarely equalled, and never surpassed, by those who had the actual work of fighting to do. The fate of more than one battle was decided, not so much by the valor of the soldier, as by the movements which the generals were able to make through information furnished them by spies; and more than one commanding officer has testified, in hearty terms of approbation, to the efficiency and fidelity of the secret service agents who have aided him.

The spy must, of necessity, perform his work amid the most perilous environments. Self-preservation is the first law of nature and of armies; and it is the duty of a general to make it an exceedingly dangerous business for the secret emissaries of the enemy to penetrate his lines for the purpose of picking up useful bits of knowledge. There is no reason, however, why, in this civilized age, when, as every one knows, spies are freely employed by all commanders, and their services are appreciated at the highest value, this class of agents should not have their status fixed in a more satisfactory manner than it is. The agent of a secret service bureau ought to have the same immunity that any other combatant has. We shoot guerrillas, or unauthorized combatants, and so, perhaps, we might continue to hang unauthorized spies; but a regular attaché of a secret service bureau should have some recognized rights, which even the enemy would be bound to respect.

I admit that there are difficulties in the way of any such arrangement as this; for, from the peculiar manner in which a spy carries on his operations, it is often necessary that he should be known to be what he is to no one but his confidential superior, and in the prosecution of some of the most important enterprises it is impossible for him to carry about him, in any shape, evidences of who or what he is; still, something might be done to improve the barbarous methods now in vogue of dealing with military detectives; for it is preposterous to attempt to regard them in the light of outlaws, when they are acting as much under the orders of responsible superiors as are the men who shoulder the muskets.

Having been for a long period a spy myself, and a very successful one, and having been engaged in many as hazardous and responsible enterprises as usually fall to the lot of a secret agent of a belligerent power, I naturally feel a, so to speak, professional interest in this matter. Otherwise, however, it does not concern me personally what may be done, or left undone, in the way of organizing the detective forces of the armies of the future. I am well out of the business, with a consciousness of having served the cause I advocated with zeal and efficiency; and as I did not fear danger while engaged in secret service duty, so I feel no compunctions in relating the particulars of a number of transactions which, at first sight, the reader may think were not to my credit. All I ask is, that fair-minded persons, who will do me the honor to peruse this portion of my narrative, will remember that the circumstances were not ordinary ones. I was mixed up in a good deal of most rascally business; but it was my associates, and not myself, who were deserving of condemnation. Their motive was gain, and gain at the expense of a government and people that trusted them, and to the detriment of a cause which they professed to hold sacred. I, on the other hand, was the secret agent of the enemy, who considered that pretty much anything was fair in war, and that I was justified in inflicting all the damage to the enemies of my cause that I was able, whether by fighting them with arms in my hands in the open field, or by encouraging treason within their own ranks. That I associated with traitors, and strove to make men betray the cause to which they were bound by every tie of honor and duty, did not render them less despicable to me; and I even now shudder to think of the depravities of human nature which my career as a secret agent of the Confederate government revealed to me.

Within The Federal Lines.

But it will be enough to speak of these things when the proper time comes; and my special task just now is to relate the prosecution of my adventures after quitting the farmhouse, where I had succeeded in obtaining the clothing I needed for the accomplishment of the particular enterprise I had on hand.

Luckily for me no one observed my movements, and I made my way to the nearest Federal picket station without interruption. I gave my name as Mrs. Williams, told as much as I thought the officer in charge ought to know about me, and asked to see General Rosecrans. I was accordingly ushered into the general's presence, and gave him a somewhat more detailed account of myself.

I represented that I was a widow woman, who was endeavoring to escape from the Confederacy, and who desired to go to her friends in the North; and, judging from appearances, I quite won upon the sympathies of the Federal commander. He asked me a great number of questions, which I answered to his satisfaction, and he then dismissed me, with a pass permitting me to go North. I could not help smiling at the ease with which I deceived General Rosecrans, and said to myself, as I retired from his presence, "My good old fellow, I'll teach you what we Southern women are good for before I am done with you."

Having got my pass, I started off, with a general notion of seeing all I could see, and finding out all I could find out, watching all the time for an opportunity for the execution of a grand coup. Picking up information here and there, some of which was of no little importance, I travelled as far as Martinsburg, and had a considerable notion of proceeding to Washington, to see whether a second visit to that city would not be even more productive of results than my first. Circumstances occurred, however, which detained me in Martinsburg, and my trip to Washington was, therefore, deferred to another opportunity, and when the opportunity arrived the reader may be assured that I made good use of it.

It was after night when I reached Martinsburg, and the only unoccupied room in the hotel where I stopped was the one belonging to a Federal quartermaster, that officer having been called away to Washington. The landlord, accordingly, put me in there, and I proceeded to make myself as much at home as possible in the quartermaster's quarters. As luck would have it, however, the officer returned during the night, and after I had retired, and finding the door bolted, he commenced a furious knocking.

A Disturbance.

I was asleep when he began to make this noise, and it caused me to wake with a start. I had no idea who it was, but thought some drunken fellow was making a disturbance. I therefore concluded not to take any notice, thinking that when he found he could not get in he would go away. The quartermaster, however, was angry at finding his room occupied, and being unable to obtain a response, finally said, "Open the door, inside there, or I will break it open!"

I thought that it was high time for me to speak now, and so said, in a half terrified tone of voice, "Who are you? What do you want?"

Finding that his apartment had a feminine occupant, he lowered his voice somewhat, and said, "Excuse me, madam," and walked to the office, where he gave the clerk some sharp words for permitting any one to take his room.

I heard him say, "I would like thundering well to know who she is;" but the clerk was unable to give him any satisfactory information, and the upshot of the whole matter was, that he was obliged to sleep in the parlor, the clerk apologizing for the inconvenience caused him, by saying that he did not know he was going to return so soon.

The next morning I overheard the quartermaster say to the old negro porter, "Uncle George, do you know who that woman is that they put into my room last night?"

"No, sah; I doesn't know, sah," replied the darkey.

"What train did she come on?"

"On the western train, I believe, sah."

"Was anybody with her?"

"Not as I knows of. I didn't see anybody with her, sah."

"Is she good looking?"

"Yes, sah; she's a pretty good looking lady, sah."

This was flattering; and the compliment was the greater as it was evidently not intended for my ears, and I resolved to myself that Uncle George's good taste should be properly rewarded.

This conversation served to give me a hint as to the kind of man I had to deal with in the quartermaster, and I doubted not that if my good looks made anything like as favorable an impression on him as they apparently had done on Uncle George, I would have but little difficulty in inducing him to tell me a good many things that it would be highly advantageous for me to know, but which it would not be exactly according to the regulations of the Federal army for him to reveal to a Confederate spy.

Having made my morning toilet, and having, in anticipation of striking up an acquaintance with the quartermaster, endeavored to make myself as attractive as possible in outward appearance, I left my room, and went and took a seat in the parlor. It was not long before I saw my gentleman, or one whom I supposed to be he, walking past the door, and looking at me with a rather curious gaze. I, however, took no notice of him, concluding that it would be more to the purpose to let him make the first advances, something that he was evidently not indisposed to do.

Breakfast was announced as ready before a great while, and with the announcement came the quartermaster's opportunity to introduce himself to me. Advancing towards me, he bowed very politely, and said, "Are you Mrs. Williams?"

"Yes, sir," I replied; "that is my name."

Smiling as agreeably as he could, he said, "I owe you an apology, madam, for the disturbance I made at your door last night. I was not aware that there was a lady in possession of the room."

"O, sir," I said, "no apology is necessary, I assure you. Indeed, I rather owe you one, for I fear I must have caused you some inconvenience."

"O, not at all, madam. On the contrary, when I learned that a lady had possession of the apartment, I regretted exceedingly that I had made so much noise. We officers of the army, however, are inclined to become rather rough in our ways, owing to the associations we are thrown in with, and to our absence from female society. We forget, sometimes, that we are civilized human beings, and don't know exactly how to behave ourselves under circumstances where rudeness is inexcusable.["]

"O, pray, sir, don't apologize," I answered; "I am sure that an officer of our brave army would not be intentionally rude under any circumstances." I thought that this would do to start the idea in his mind that I was a stanch Federal.

Just then a colored woman appeared, and asked us whether we would not walk into breakfast; and my new-made friend very politely said, "As you are a stranger here, will you permit me to escort you to the breakfast-room?"

"Certainly, sir," I replied; and taking his arm, we walked into the room together, my escort finding a seat for me beside himself at one of the pleasantest tables.

During the progress of the meal, my friend manifested the greatest interest in me and my movements, and by a series of questions, he elicited the information that I was from Cincinnati, that I was uncertain how long I would remain, and that I was in search of a brother, whom I greatly feared was either killed or wounded, as he had not been heard of for an unusually long time.

Concerning A Bogus Brother.

The little game I was playing with the quartermaster will serve as a very fair specimen of the methods which a secret service agent is compelled to use for the purpose of gaining such information as is desired. A spy, or a detective, must have a quick eye, a sharp ear, a retentive memory, and a talent for taking advantage of small, and apparently unimportant points, as aids for the accomplishment of the object in view. While making the journey which had brought me as far as Martinsburg, I had, of course, kept my eyes and ears open, and had consequently accumulated quite an extensive stock of knowledge which I thought might be useful some time. Among other things, I had learned the name of a Federal soldier belonging to General Averill's command, and I made a mental note of it for future reference. I cannot recollect, at this distance of time from the incident, whether I accidentally saw this name in a newspaper, or whether I overheard it mentioned in conversation between people near me in the cars. How I obtained it, however, is a matter of small consequence, for that I might have done in a thousand ways. At all events I had the name, and my purpose now was to use it as a means of making the Federal officer by my side at the hotel table useful to me.

My friend asked me what company my brother belonged to, but I said that I could not tell him that. All I knew was, that he was under Averill, and that, as the command had been engaged in some sharp fighting lately, his family, as they had not heard from him, were becoming exceedingly anxious.

I believe that I wiped the semblance of a tear from my eye as I told all this, and looked as distressed as possible, in the hope of working on the quartermaster's sympathies. He proved as sympathetic as I could have desired; and bidding me not to distress myself unnecessarily, but to hope for the best, he promised to undertake to find out for me where my brother was, if still alive, or, if it should turn out that he had been killed, where he was buried.

Accordingly, when we had finished breakfast, he escorted me back to the parlor, and then, saying au revoir, he went immediately to headquarters, to inspect the roll of the command. Before a great while he returned, and, with a very sorrowful countenance, stated that it gave him pain to tell me that my dear brother was dead.

"O, that is awful!" I cried, and began to go on at quite a rate, actually, I believe, squeezing out a few real tears.

My friend tried to soothe me as well as he could, and finally, becoming calm, in response to repeated requests to do so on his part, I asked him where Dick was buried, and declared that I must visit his grave.

That I should desire to see, and to weep over, the grave of my dear departed brother, seemed to the quartermaster both reasonable and natural, and he said that he would get an ambulance and take me to the burial-place.

At My Supposed Brother's Grave.

Before many moments, therefore, the vehicle was in attendance, and my friend and I drove out to where my supposititious brother was buried. It was now my turn to question; and my escort proved to be so exceedingly communicative, that before we returned to the hotel, I was informed of the exact number of troops in the neighborhood, their positions, their commanders, where the enemy were supposed to be located, who they were commanded by, the results of the recent conflicts, and a variety of other matters of more or less importance. The man was as innocent and as unsuspicious as a new-born babe, and I could scarcely keep from laughing sometimes at the eagerness he displayed in telling me all manner of things that, had he been possessed of ordinary common sense, he would never have revealed to any one, much less to a total stranger, with regard to whose antecedents he knew absolutely nothing.

Some of the information thus obtained I knew would be of vital importance to the Confederates, could it be conveyed to them immediately. I therefore made my arrangement, and that night slipped through the Federal lines, and told all that I had to tell to one of Mosby's pickets. With that extraordinary good luck which so often attends bold adventures, I succeeded in getting back without being observed or suspected, and my escort of the morning was never the wiser by the knowledge that his silly talkativeness had produced such good results for the Confederacy.

I remained about a week in Martinsburg, and enjoyed myself immensely. Not only my friend, the quartermaster, but a number of other officers paid me very marked attentions, and I was soon quite a rival to the belles of the place. I did not have another opportunity to communicate with the Confederate forces; but this week was not an idle one, nevertheless, and by the time it was ended, I was in possession of a large number of facts that were well worth knowing. While still undecided whether to push on farther or not, I received some intelligence which induced me to think it better to return.

When I announced that I was about to depart, my friends, the officers, expressed the greatest regret. The quartermaster said, "We shall miss you greatly; you have made yourself so agreeable since you have been here, that we shall scarcely know what to do without you."

I said that I was sorry to go, but that my family was anxious for my return; and as I bade the quartermaster good-by, I declared that I had half a mind to turn detective, for the purpose of catching the rebel who killed Dick. The quartermaster insisted that I should write to him when I got home; and on his stating that he had a notion to come and see me when the war was over, I gave him a pressing invitation to do so, thinking that he would have a good time in finding me.

But when I got back to Chattanooga, I had some trouble in making any farther progress; but by representing myself as a soldier's wife, and expressing an extreme anxiety to see my husband, I was permitted to remain within the Federal lines, but was not afforded any particular facilities for finding out anything worth knowing. My anxiety now was to regain the Confederate lines at the earliest possible moment. As I knew the country pretty well, I felt certain of being able to find the farm-house where I had left my uniform, if I could only get a chance to go to it. Fortune favors the brave in a majority of cases, and ere long I was enabled to reach the house, but only to find that it had been burned, and, with the exception of the smoke-house and kitchen, was a mass of charred ruins.

I confess that my heart sank within me when I saw that the house had been destroyed, for I would have been in a nice predicament, and without my masculine garments would have been even more unwelcome among the Confederates than I was among the Federals. To my great joy, however, I discovered the ash-barrel just where I had placed it and unharmed, and in a few moments I had discarded my feminine raiment, and was once more in the guise of a Confederate officer. The costume I wore, however, was not one in which I could appear with impunity in that neighborhood, and it was necessary, therefore, that I should make haste to get where it would be regarded with friendly feelings.

Ere many moments I was crawling through the underbrush and under the fences, with my coat and cap tied up in a bundle, so that I could drop them in case of necessity. In this way I worked myself slowly and cautiously along for several hours during the night, in the direction of the Confederate outposts. When it was light enough for me to see with reasonable distinctness, I made a reconnoisance, and concluded that I must have been within the Confederate lines for more than an hour.

To my left I saw the railroad track tolerably close to the road I was on, and the smoke of the camp was clearly visible. I then crept back into the bush and made for the nearest camp, not wishing to be stopped either by friend or foe at this particular point. Before I reached the point I was aiming at, however, I was compelled to take a rest, for the kind of travelling I had been doing was the hardest kind of hard work, and I was tolerably well used up. Drawing on my coat, therefore, I sat down and began to think what story it would be best for me to tell in order to obtain such a reception as I desired. After turning over the matter in my mind, I concluded to represent myself as an escaped prisoner belonging to Morgan's command.

Back In The Confederate Lines.

Having thoroughly arranged my plan of action in my mind, I walked up boldly to a picket, whom I saw sitting on a horse at some distance, and saluting him, and telling him that I was unarmed, asked to see the officer of the guard. The officer soon came riding out of the woods towards me, and asked who I was. I told him that I was an escaped prisoner, and that I belonged to Morgan's command, and produced my transportation papers and the letter to General Polk, which had been given to me in the early part of the war. The officer read the papers, which he apparently did not find particularly satisfactory, and scanned me very closely, as if he thought that there was something not quite right about me.

I was much afraid lest he should suspect something, for I had no mustache, and having become somewhat bleached, was not by any means so masculine in appearance as I had been at one time. I, however, bore his scrutiny without flinching, and he apparently did not know what to do but to receive me for what I appeared to be. He accordingly told me that I should have to wait where I was until the relief came, when he would conduct me to camp.

I told him that I was terribly hungry and tired, having walked from Chattanooga since early in the previous evening without food or sleep, and that I would like to get where I could obtain some breakfast. As a means of softening his heart, I pulled out a little pocket flask of whiskey, and asked him if he would not take a drink. His eye brightened at the sight of the flask, and he accepted my invitation without a moment's hesitation. Putting it to his lips, he took a good pull, and when he handed it back there was mighty little left in it. This little I gave to the sergeant, who appeared to relish the liquor as highly as his superior did. The whiskey had the desired effect; for the officer told me he guessed I had better not wait for the relief, and detailed a man to show me the way to camp.

On our arrival at camp, the man took me to the officer's tent, where I made myself as much at home as I could until the master appeared. It was not long, however, before he followed me, and to my great satisfaction, an excellent breakfast was in a short time placed on the table.

After breakfast, the boys, having heard of the arrival of an escaped prisoner, I was speedily surrounded by a crowd of eager questioners, who were anxious to hear all the news from the Federal army. I tried to satisfy their curiosity as well as I could, and told them that the Yankees had received heavy re-enforcements, and were preparing to make a grand movement, and a variety of other matters, part fact and part fiction. Having got rid of my questioners, I took a good sleep until noon, and then, borrowing a horse, rode down to Dalton, where I learned that Captain De Caulp was sick at Atlanta, and resolved to make an effort to get there for the purpose of seeing him.

I was spared the necessity, however, of being obliged to make any special plans for the accomplishment of this end, for I managed to severely hurt the foot which had been wounded shortly after the battle of Fort Donelson, and became so lame that it was decided to send me to Atlanta for medical treatment.


The Kind of People an Army is made up of. — Gentlemen and Blackguards. — The Demoralization of Warfare. — How I managed to keep out of Difficulties. — The Value of a Fighting Reputation. — A Quarrel with a drunken General. — I threaten to shoot him. — My Illness, and the kind Attentions received from Friends. — I am admitted to the Empire Hospital. — The Irksomeness of a Sick-bed. — I learn that my Lover is in the same Hospital, and resolve to see him as soon as I am convalescent.

AN army is made up of all kinds of people, — the rougher element of masculine human nature, of necessity, predominating; and not the least of the evil effect of a great war is, that it tends to develop a spirit of ruffianism, which, when times of peace return, is of no benefit to society. A man who is instinctively a gentleman, will be one always, and in spite of the demoralizing influences of warfare; but one who is only a gentleman by brevet, and whose native blackguardism is only concealed on ordinary occasions by a superficial polish of cultivation, will be apt to show himself a blackguard at the earliest opportunity amidst camp associations. Such men are usually cringing sycophants before their superiors, bullies to those who are under them, shirks when fighting is going on, and plunderers when opportunities for plunder are offered. It is creditable to the American people, as a class, that the great armies which contended with each other so earnestly during four long, weary years of warfare, were disbanded and dismissed to their homes with so little injury to society; for, under the very best auspices, war is not calculated to make men good citizens, while it is pretty certain to make those who are ruffians and blackguards already, worse than they were before they took up arms.

During the time that I wore the uniform of a Confederate officer, I was, of course, brought into contact with all sorts of people, — blackguards as well as gentlemen, — and had some pretty good opportunities for studying masculine character. The warnings that had been given me with regard to the most peculiarly unpleasant and disgusting features of camp life, I very speedily discovered were only too well founded; and had I been possessed by a less fervid enthusiasm for the cause, or a less resolute determination to carry out my purpose, I might at an early day have given the whole thing up in disgust. I got accustomed, however, in time to rough, profane, even dirty language, and did not mind it; or, at least, did not permit myself to be annoyed by it. The best and most highly esteemed of my acquaintances in the army permitted themselves a license of language and conduct that they would not have ventured upon in the society of ladies; but this, while it shocked me somewhat at first, I finally came to regard as a matter of course; and when I heard things from the lips of those whom I knew to be gentlemen at heart, which offended my ears, I regarded the annoyance I felt as one of the penalties of the anomalous position I occupied, and very speedily learned to bear with it.

It was different, however, with another class of men, who seemed to take delight in showing, on every possible occasion, what consummate blackguards they were. These I ever regarded with loathing and contempt; and I hope that some of them will undertake the perusal of this narrative, in order that they may know what I think of them.

Keeping The Peace.

With the ruffianly elements of an army it was exceedingly difficult for decent, peaceably-disposed people to get along on any terms. An indisposition to quarrel was regarded as an evidence of cowardice; and as your genuine bully delights in nothing more than in tormenting one whom he imagines will not fight, a reputation for being willing to fight, on the shortest notice, is an excellent thing to have by one who desires to avoid getting into difficulties.

Situated as I was, it was especially important that I should not quarrel if I could help it; but I was not long in finding out that, as quarrelling was necessary sometimes, the bold course was the best, both for the present and the future, and that by promptly resenting anything approaching an insult, I would be likely to avoid being insulted thereafter. I, therefore, very speedily let it be known that I was ready to fight at a moment's notice, if there was any real occasion for fighting; but, at the same time, that I desired to live peaceably with everybody, and was not inclined to quarrel if I was let alone. The result of this line of policy was, that, as a general rule, I got along smoothly enough, but occasionally I could not avoid an angry controversy with somebody; and when I did become involved in anything of the kind, I usually tried to give my antagonist to understand, in plain terms, that I was not an individual to be trifled with.

On my arrival at Atlanta, I unfortunately had a little unpleasantness, which caused me very serious disquietude for a time, owing to the peculiar situation in which I was placed, and which might have had some ill results, either for the person who started the quarrel or for myself, had it not been for the good judgment and consideration of one or two of my friends, who persuaded me not to resort to any extreme measures.

I was expecting to see Captain De Caulp, and was very anxious with regard to him, as I did not know exactly what his condition was, and feared that he might be seriously ill. It was my intention to go to him, to devote myself to him if he should need my services, and perhaps to reveal myself to him. Indeed, I pretty much made up my mind that our marriage should take place as soon as he was convalescent; and, in view of such an event occurring shortly, I was in no humor for a mere bar-room squabble with a drunken ruffian, and would have avoided such a thing at almost any cost, could I have had warning with regard to its probability. More than this, in addition to the lameness of my foot, I was really quite sick, and at the time of the occurrence ought to have been in bed under the doctor's care, and was consequently less disposed than ever to engage in a brawl.

A Drunk And Disorderly General.

Unsuspecting any trouble, however, I went to the hotel, and registered my name, and was almost immediately surrounded by a number of officers, who were eager to learn what was going on at the front. Among them was General F., — I do not give his name in full for his own sake, — an individual who thought more of whiskey than he did of his future existence, and who was employing his time in getting drunk at Atlanta, instead of doing his duty at the front by leading his men.

He saw that I was a little fellow, and probably thought, on that account, he could bully me with impunity; so, while I was answering the thousand and one questions that were put to me, he began making offensive and insulting remarks, and asking me insolent questions, until I longed to give him a lesson in good manners that he would not forget in a hurry, and resolved that I would make an effort to chastise him if he did not behave himself.

This was one of the class of men for which I had a hearty contempt; and, as I neither wished to be annoyed by his drunken insolence, nor to quarrel with him if I could avoid it, I left the office and went into the wash-room. The general evidently considered this a retreat due to his prowess, — prowess which he was careful not to make any great display of within the smell of gunpowder, — and he followed me, apparently determined to provoke me to the utmost. I, however, took no notice of him, but, after washing my hands, came out and took a seat in the office beside my esteemed friend, Major Bacon — a thorough gentleman in every sense of the word.

My persecutor still following me, now came and seated himself on the other side of me, and made some insolent remark — which I do not care to remember. This excited my wrath, and I resolved to put a stop to the tipsy brute's annoyances. I accordingly said to him, "See here, sir, I don't want to have anything to do with you, so go away and let me be, or it will be worse for you."

At this he sprang up, his eyes glaring with drunken fury, and swinging his arms around in that irresponsible way incident to inebriety, he began to swear in lively fashion, and said, "What'll be worse for me? What do you mean? I'll lick you out of your boots! I can lick you, or any dozen like you."

Nice talk, this, for a general, who was supposably a gentleman, wasn't it? I merely said, in reply, "You are too drunk, sir, to be responsible. I intend, however, when you are sober, that you shall apologize to me for this, or else make you settle it in a way that will, perhaps, not be agreeable to you."

He glared at me as I uttered these words; but my firm manner evidently cowed him, and turning, with a coarse, tipsy laugh, he said, to an officer who was standing near watching the performance, "Come, colonel, let's take another drink; he won't fight;" and they accordingly walked off towards the bar-room together.

This last remark enraged me to such a degree, that I declared I would shoot him if he came near me again. Major Bacon tried to pacify me, and said that I had better let him alone, as he was not worth noticing. After considerable persuasion I concluded that there was very little credit to be got by following up a quarrel with such a blackguard, and made up my mind to have nothing to do with him, if it was possible to avoid him.

The general did not come near me until after supper, when I met him again at the bar. As I had not undertaken to punish him for his behavior to me, he evidently thought that I was afraid of him; and, without addressing me directly, he began to make insulting side remarks, aimed at me. I was on the point of going up and slapping his face, when Major Bacon and Lieutenant Chamberlain, thinking that it was not worth while for me to get into trouble about such a fellow, induced me to go to my room.

Already quite ill, and far from able to be about, the excitement of this unpleasant occurrence made me worse, and I passed a night of great suffering from a high fever, and from my sore foot, which pained me extremely. The major waited on me in the kindest manner, bathing my foot with cold water, and procuring some medicine for me from the hospital steward, and towards morning I fell into a sound sleep, which refreshed me greatly, although I was still very sick.

In the morning Major Bacon ordered me some breakfast, of which, however, I was able to eat but little. While I was breakfasting, he said, "How are you off for money, lieutenant?"

"I have only twenty-four dollars in my pocket just now," I replied, "but I intend to send to Mobile for some to-day."

"Well," said he, "you may need some before yours comes, so here's one hundred and fifty dollars at your service. I will have to leave at five o'clock, but before I go I will try and see that you are in good hands, and in a way to be well taken care of."

The major then went out, and about two o'clock returned with Dr. Hay, who prescribed for me. During the afternoon I was visited by a number of my friends, who appeared to be solicitous for my welfare, and who did their best to cheer me up. I was too sick, however, to enjoy their company much, although I appreciated their kind intentions. I really felt sad at the idea of being forsaken by Major Bacon, who would gladly have staid by me had he not been under positive orders to leave. When the time came for him to go, he shook me by the hand, and said, "Lieutenant, my boy, I will have to leave you now. Lieutenant Chamberlain and the doctor will take good care of you, and I hope you will be up soon."

I asked the major to write to me, and he promised to do so, and bidding me good-by, he took his departure. After Major Bacon had gone, Lieutenant Chamberlain took charge of me, and I shall ever be grateful for the unwearied kindness of his attention. There was nothing I desired, that was procurable, that he did not get for me, and had I been his own relative he could not have done more to promote my comfort.

In The Hospital.

As I got worse instead of better, however, it was concluded that the hospital was the best place for me, and to the Empire Hospital I accordingly was sent, by order of the chief surgeon of the post. I was first admitted into Dr. Hammond's ward, and subsequently into that of Dr. Hay. Dr. Hay, who was a whole-souled little fellow, is dead, but Dr. Hammond is still living, and I am glad of such an opportunity as this of testifying to his noble qualities. During the entire period I was under his care in the hospital, he treated me, as he did all his patients, with the greatest kindness.

O, but these were sad and weary days that I spent in the hospital! I cannot tell how I longed, once more, to be out in the open air and the sunshine, and participating in the grand scenes that were being enacted not many miles away. My restless disposition made sickness especially irksome to me, and I felt sometimes as if I could scarcely help leaving my bed, and going as I was to the front, for the purpose of plunging into the thickest of the fight; while at other moments, when the fever was strong upon me, I almost wished that I might die, rather than to be compelled to toss about thus on a couch of pain.

There was one consolation, however, in all my sufferings, which sustained me, and made me measurably patient and contented to endure the irksomeness of the restraint which my illness placed upon me, — I was near the man I loved, and hoped soon to have an opportunity to see and to converse with him. I learned soon after my admission to the hospital that Captain De Caulp was in Dr. Benton's ward, adjoining that under the charge of Dr. Hay; and to be under the same roof with him, and the probability that ere long I would be able to see him again, helped me to bear up under the suffering I was called upon to endure. I resolved that if Captain De Caulp was willing, our marriage should take place so soon as we were able to leave the hospital; and I busied myself in wondering what he would say when he discovered what strange pranks I had been playing since we had been corresponding as lovers. I almost dreaded to reveal to him that the little dandified lieutenant, who had volunteered to fight in his company at Shiloh, and the woman to whom he was bound by an engagement of marriage, were the same; but I felt that the time for the disclosure to be made had arrived, and was determined to make it at the earliest opportunity.


Sick-bed Fancies — Reflections on my military Career. — I almost resolve to abandon the Garb of a Soldier. — Difficulties in the Way of achieving Greatness. — Warfare as a laborious Business. — The Favors of Fortune sparingly bestowed. — Prospective Meeting with my Lover. — Anxiety to know what he would think of the Course I had been pursuing in figuring in the Army as a Man. — A strange Courtship. — More like a Chapter of Romance than a grave Reality. — My Recollections of an old Spanish Story, read in my Childhood, that in some respects reminds me of my own Experiences. — The Story of Estela. — How the Desires of a Pair of Lovers were opposed by stern Parents. — An Elopement planned. — The Abduction of Estela through the Instrumentality of a Rival. — She is carried off by Moorish Pirates, and sold as a Slave. — Her Escape from Slavery, and how she entered the Army of the Emperor disguised as a Man. — Estela saves the Emperor's Life, and is promoted to a high Office. — Her Meeting with her Lover, and her Endeavors to make him confess his Faith in her Honor. — The Appointment of Estela as Governor of her native City. — The Trial of her Lover on the Charge of having murdered her. — Happy Ending of the Story. — I am inspired, by my Recollections of the Story of Estela, to hear from the Lips of my Lover his Opinion of me before I reveal myself to him. — Impatient Waiting for the Hour of Meeting.

THILE tossing upon my sick-bed in the hospital, I was compelled, for very lack of other occupation, to think of many things that, under ordinary circumstances, busied as I habitually was with innumerable ambitious schemes, would never have pressed themselves upon my mind with the force they now did. This was a strange life I had been leading now for more than two years, and yet it was the kind of a life that, from my earliest childhood, I had ardently longed to lead. I had some understanding now of what the great discoverers, adventurers, and soldiers, who were the idols of my childish imagination, had been compelled to go through with before they won the undying fame that was theirs, and I comprehended, to some degree, how hard a thing it was to win fame.

For myself, I had played my part in the great drama of war with what skill I could command; and, although I had not played it altogether unsuccessfully, the chances that fame and the applause of future ages would be mine, seemed as remote as ever. Warfare, despite all that was terrible and horrible about it, was, to the majority of those who participated in it, a most commonplace, practical, and far from exciting business, in which the chances for eminent distinction seldom appeared, and in which Fortune showered her favors only on a chosen few. And yet there was an almost irresistible fascination in being an active participant in the great events upon which the destinies of a continent were hanging, and the possibility that, at any moment almost, something might occur by which the humblest among the host of combatants would be immortalized, gave a zest to the hard work, and an inspiration to exertion.

Had I continued in health, the probabilities are that the idea of abandoning the cause I had chosen before the close of the war, would never have been permitted to take lodgment in my brain, and I would have gone on from one adventure to another, in spite of every discouragement and disappointment, hoping always that I would be able to achieve something great. Now, however, lying upon my sick-bed, I could not but confess to myself that I was disappointed, and that I was following a will-o'-the-wisp in striving to gain for myself a great name by heroic deeds. Although I had no regrets for the course I had pursued, and as I reviewed in my mind the momentous events in which I had been an active participant during the two years I had been wearing a Confederate officer's uniform, my heart beat proudly at the recollection of them, I nevertheless almost concluded that I had had enough of this, and that it was time for me to exchange my uniform for the attire of my own sex once more, and in good earnest, with the intention of never resuming it again.

Thoughts Of Love.

These were sick fancies, and I felt ashamed of myself at times for my weakening in the resolution I had formed to see the thing through at all hazards, in some shape, and, if there was a possibility of doing it, of making for myself a great name as a soldier. But there were other influences at work to make me doubtful of the propriety of my longer continuing the hazardous experiment of passing myself off as a man. In an adjoining ward of the hospital was my lover, to a speedy meeting with whom I was looking forward with many fond anticipations. How would he regard my conduct? And should he, as I hoped he would, be proud of my efforts to advance the Confederate cause by doing a soldier's duty, would he be willing that I should longer continue to wear my uniform, especially if we should conclude to have our marriage solemnized at an early day? These were questions that pressed themselves upon me, and that, even more than the dispiriting influences of a sick-room, made me half repent that I had ever assumed male attire, and made me more than half resolve to permanently abandon it so soon as I was out of the hospital.

I was curious, however, rather than apprehensive, with regard to the effect of the disclosures I would have to make when I met Captain De Caulp. There was nothing that I had done that I need blush for, while he had himself been the witness, on one momentous occasion, of my prowess as a warrior, and I longed to hear him repeat to me, as a woman, the praise he had so freely bestowed upon me as a man when we fought side by side at Shiloh.

What a strange courtship ours had been! The only time we had met since our engagement was on the field of battle, and in the midst of scenes of carnage, and here we both were now, sick in adjoining wards of the same hospital; I, longing to be with him, but unable to go to his side; and he, all unconscious that the woman he loved was so near; sighing, doubtless, for the time to come when our futures would be united, but never dreaming that the future he sighed for was so near at hand. It was like a romance, and it was in the scenes of a romance, the memories of which floated through my mind as I thought over the situation, that I alone could find any similitude to it.

I recollected, as I reviewed the circumstances of my own case, an old Spanish novela, which I had read when a girl, and which had long since passed out of mind with other childish memories, but the incidents of which now came back to me with singular vividness, on account of a certain resemblance they had to points in my own career. The author's name I forgot, but I distinctly remembered the story, which was one of a collection in an old book I was fond of perusing when at home under my father's roof at the Puerto de Palmas plantation in Cuba.

The Story Of Estela.

The name of the heroine of this tale was Estela, and she was beloved by a handsome, rich, and gallant young man, — all the heroes in these old Spanish novels are young, handsome, rich, and of high birth, and all the heroines are marvels of beauty, — and for a long time the course of true love ran smoothly enough. At length, however, a young grandee, of enormous wealth, also became enamoured of Estela; and although he failed to win the affection of the lady, he succeeded, without any difficulty, in becoming the choice of her parents; not that they had any objections to Don Carlos, — which I believe was the name of Estela's lover, — but that his rival promised to be a more splendid match for their daughter. Don Carlos was, therefore, forbidden to hold any correspondence with the object of his adoration, but, as Estela continued true to him in spite of her parents' opposition, they were accustomed to meet surreptitiously, through the agency of the lady's waiting-maid and the gentleman's page, who arranged secret interviews for them.

Now, it so happened that while the pair were thus carrying on their secret courtship, the page of Don Carlos took sick and died. It was not many days, however, before a handsome youth applied to be taken into his service, who proved himself so zealous and faithful that he was soon intrusted with all his master's secrets. This youth, however, was a woman, who had fallen in love with Don Carlos, and who, unable to attract his attention in any other way, had resorted to this means of bringing herself to his notice, and of being near him, in the hope that something would occur to enable her to win his love.

The heroines of these old Spanish romances seem to have had a decided fancy for masquerading in male attire, and it is not unlikely that this propensity on their part had some effect in encouraging in me a desire to assume the dress of the other sex for the purpose of seeking adventures. I can call to mind many more stories than the one I am endeavoring to give a brief outline of, in which the women attempt, for the accomplishment of different ends, to figure as men, and it is scarcely possible that I was uninfluenced by a perusal of the narratives of their exploits.

The new page, as I have stated, easily gained the entire confidence of Don Carlos, and was employed as the messenger between him and his lady-love. She, however, soon found that he was so much absorbed in Estela, that it was useless to hope to win him, unless her rival could be removed; and she accordingly set about devising a plan for the accomplishment of this end. An opportunity soon offered; for the parents of Estela, despite her unwillingness, were determined that she should accept the hand of the lover of their choice, and made their arrangements for a speedy wedding. Estela, of course, informed Don Carlos of this, and he, seeing that his bride would be lost to him unless he acted with decision, persuaded her to consent to an elopement with him to another city, where their marriage could take place.

The fictitious page was, of course, informed of all that was proposed by the lovers, and felt that the time had now come for her to interfere. Don Carlos and Estela, having arranged for the elopement to take place on a certain night, the lady wrote a letter to her parents, stating that, unable to endure the idea of marrying, at their dictation, a man whom she did not love, she had ventured to incur their displeasure by uniting herself with Don Carlos, for whom, as they well knew, she had long borne a tender regard.

The page, to whom had been intrusted the task of conducting the lady to a rendezvous, where her lover would be waiting with horses to bear them away beyond the reach of pursuit until the marriage should take place, basely betrayed the trust confided to her, however, and, instead of delivering Estela to her lover, took her to where some Moorish pirates were in waiting, by whom she was seized, and carried off to Algiers, to be sold as a slave. The pirates, as a precaution against treachery, insisted upon the page going with them; and thus Estela became informed that her betrayer was a woman, and also learned the reason for her conduct.

On the disappearance of Estela being discovered, the only clew to the mystery was the letter she had written, announcing her intention of eloping with Don Carlos; and that gentleman, who had been waiting anxiously and impatiently for her, and who was lost in wonder at her non-appearance at the rendezvous, was accused of having spirited her away, and perhaps of having murdered her. He was not only overwhelmed with anguish at such a charge being brought against him, but was sorely perplexed to know what had become of the lady; and, as day after day passed by, and no tidings of her were received, he at length forced himself to believe that she had proved false to him, had accepted the page for a lover, and had fled with him. In the mean time the indignation against him increased, and the suspicions that he was the murderer of his mistress grew into certainty in many minds. His trial, on the charge of murder, was therefore ordered; but, determined not to be made the victim of a false woman's treachery if he could avoid it, he made his escape from prison, and, flying to Italy, entered the army of the emperor, Charles V., as a common soldier.

In the mean while, Estela, after passing through many strange adventures in the land of the Moors, at length succeeded in making her escape, in male attire, and she, too, joined the army of the emperor, which was then besieging some Moorish town. In a skirmish which occurred soon after, she had the good fortune to save the life of the emperor, who, finding that she was a person of education and talents, appointed her — little suspecting her to be a woman — to an important position near his own person. Estela soon became the emperor's favorite officer, and he delighted in heaping honors upon her, she, all the while, longing only for an opportunity to return to her own country, for the purpose of seeking her lover.

One day, however, she was amazed to behold a soldier in the ranks who reminded her greatly of Don Carlos, and, on engaging in conversation, found that it was indeed he. She, therefore, took him to her tent, and, by degrees, succeeded in inducing him to tell his story. That he should have suffered so much on her account, grieved her exceedingly; but her womanly pride was touched that he should suspect her honor, and she resolved to try and induce him to have a better opinion of her than he professed, before revealing herself. Appointing Don Carlos to the post of secretary, she engaged him, almost daily, in conversation about his lost love, and endeavored, by various means, to persuade him that Estela might be guiltless.

The melancholy of Don Carlos, however, increased the more the matter was talked about. He could not help confessing that he still loved Estela tenderly, despite her unworthiness, but it was impossible to induce him to think that she was not unworthy. That he still loved her, was some consolation to Estela, but it piqued her that he should be unwilling to admit that there might be some explanation of her strange disappearance that would relieve her of blame. While devising in her mind some plan for bringing Don Carlos to reason, she learned that the governor of her native city had suddenly died. This suggested a means of accomplishing her purpose, and she accordingly applied to the emperor for the vacant office. Her request was granted, and she set off immediately to take possession of the governorship, Don Carlos going with her, feeling sure that, as one of the new governor's household, he would be free from molestation on account of the old charge against him, or, at least, that he would be able to receive a fair and impartial trial.

So soon as the new governor was installed, and it was found that Don Carlos was in his suite, the parents of Estela, and other prominent citizens, stated what the accusations against him were, and demanded that he be brought to trial, and punished according to law. The governor promised that strict justice should be done, and appointed a day for the trial to take place, refusing, however, to permit Don Carlos to be sent to prison, and promising to be responsible for him.

Up to the time of the trial the conferences between the governor and the secretary were frequent, and Estela redoubled her efforts to make her lover acknowledge, not only that he loved, but that he still had infinite faith in his lady.

This, as I recollect it, was the most intensely interesting and exciting part of the story, and it made a strong impression on my imagination. I thought the lady cruel in unnecessarily prolonging the misery of her lover, and at the same time, although I was but a child when I read the story, I could not but appreciate the feelings which induced her to desire that Don Carlos should confess that he had banished all unworthy suspicion of her from his mind before she cleared up the mystery of her disappearance.

At length the confession was forced from the unhappy man, that, as Estela had never given him reason to think, by any levity of conduct, that she was capable of loving another than himself, much less that she was capable of basely forsaking him for one less worthy, he still, in his inmost soul, had faith in her honor, and that the dream of his life was, that he might be able to be reunited to her.

The day of trial came, and Estela, as the chief magistrate of the city, sat upon the bench, with the other judges, to the hear the case. The various witnesses who appeared related the story of Estela's disappearance; her letter, announcing her proposed flight with Don Carlos, was produced; the servants who had been cognizant of the clandestine meetings of the lovers related in detail all they knew about the frequent interviews Don Carlos had had with Estela, without the knowledge of her parents; to all of which the accused could oppose nothing but a simple denial of his guilt.

The disguised Estela, in her character of governor, said, with a frown, and with pretended severity, that, had she known there was such a weight of evidence against Don Carlos, she could never have given him her protection, or have continued him in his office of secretary. The only way in which his innocence could be proved, in the face of such testimony, was by the appearance of Estela, but that, if she could not be produced, it would be necessary to pronounce condemnation.

The miserable man now threw himself at the feet of the governor, and besought him to remember how, long before either of them had any reason to believe they would be called upon to appear before each other in the character of accused and judge, he had told his whole story, and had confessed his love for Estela, despite the reason he had for believing that she had acted basely to him, and how, but a brief time before, he had not only acknowledged his unaltered affection, but his faith in Estela's honor, and besought that true justice might be done, despite what seemed to be an accumulation of evidence against him.

Estela, moved by these entreaties, and overcome by the confession of enduring love and of faith in her honor, made in the presence of a great assembly, was unable longer to restrain herself, and she therefore proclaimed that, notwithstanding the evidence, as she knew Don Carlos to be innocent, she would order his release. This excited a loud murmur of discontent; whereupon the governor, commanding silence, revealed herself to the marvelling crowd as the lost Estela, and, throwing herself in the arms of Don Carlos, asked his pardon for the severe tests she had put him to for the purpose of proving that his affection for her was the same as ever.

The lovers were married without delay, and, as the hero and heroine of a novel ought to be, they were happy ever afterwards, the emperor giving to Don Carlos the governorship of the city in place of Estela, — who preferred to relinquish masculine duties with masculine attire, — and otherwise making the reunited pair the recipients of favors which testified, in a practical manner, his esteem for them.

This is but a feeble and incomplete recital of a very pretty story, and is only entitled to a place in this narrative of my own adventures, because it was so much in my thoughts at the particular period of which I am now writing, and because it inspired me to imitate Estela's example so far as to seek to obtain a confession of love from Captain De Caulp, before I should reveal myself to him. I was filled with an eager desire to hear what he would say of me to his friend, the supposed Lieutenant Buford, and having arranged in my mind what I should say to him when we met, I waited, with ill-disguised impatience, for the time to come when I could put my plan in execution, trying to imagine, all the while, what would be the effect upon him when the whole truth was made known.

It was a weary while waiting, though, for the hour of meeting to come, and, had my physicians permitted it, I would have left my sick-bed to go to Captain De Caulp long before I was really able to be on my feet. Dr. Hammond, however, knew better what was good for me than I knew myself, and he constrained me to remain under his care until he should be able to pronounce me able to care for myself once more; and, as there was no use in resisting his orders, I obeyed them perforce, with what patience I could command.


Convalescence. — I pay a Visit to my Lover. — A friendly Feeling. — A Surprise in Store for him. — I ask him about his matrimonial Prospects, and endeavor to ascertain the State of his Affections towards me. — An affecting Scene. — The Captain receives a Letter from his Lady-love. — "She has come! She has come!" — The Captain prepares for a Meeting with his Sweetheart. — A Question of Likeness. — A puzzling Situation. — I reveal my Identity. — Astonishment and Joy of my Lover. — Preparations for our Wedding. — A very quiet Affair proposed. — The Wedding. — A short Honeymoon. — Departure of my Husband for the Front. — My Apprehensions for his Health. — My Apprehensions justified in the News of his Death in a Federal Hospital in Chattanooga. — Once more a Widow.

TFTER a weary waiting, which I thought would never end, both Captain De Caulp and myself were convalescent. At the earliest moment that I could obtain permission to leave my ward I went to see him, being naturally more impatient for a meeting than he was; for, although we had exchanged greetings through our physicians, it was simply as friends and officers of the Confederate army, and not as lovers, and he had no suspicion whatever that his sick neighbor of the hospital was other than the young lieutenant whose acquaintance he had formed at Pensacola, and who had fought beside him at Shiloh.

He was extremely glad to see me, however, much more so than I expected he would be; but the fact was, it had been so long since he had had a chance to chat with any of his old friends, that it was a genuine pleasure to him to have any one call on him for the sake of a lively talk over old times. I found him sadly reduced and worn by the severe illness through which he had just passed; but, although he was weak, he was evidently improving, and in a fair way for a rapid recovery.

When I came in and stood by his bedside, he smiled, and held out his hand, and said, "I am mighty glad to see you again, lieutenant. It is like meeting a brother."

A Delicate Subject.

I said that I was rejoiced to meet him again, and would have called on him much sooner had the doctors permitted it. I then asked him how he was coming on, about the nature of his sickness, and matters of that kind, and gradually drifted into a conversation about things in general, — the progress of the war, the people we knew, matters at home, — and so led him up to the subject about which I particularly desired to speak with him. After some little preliminary talk, which would enable me to bring the question in naturally, without exciting suspicion that I had any but a merely friendly interest in the matter, I said, "Captain, are you married yet? You know you told me some time ago you were engaged, and were expecting very shortly to ask the lady to name the day."

"No," said he, "the wedding has not come off yet, but I hope it will very shortly. I should have gone home for the purpose of getting married if I had kept my health, but this spell of sickness has knocked all my plans in the head."

"Does the lady know that you are sick?" I asked. "Have you heard from her recently?"

"I doubt whether she does," he replied. "I have been expecting to hear from her for some time, and have been greatly disappointed that I have not. The last letter I had stated that she would meet me here; but for several months I have been unable to communicate with her, and am unable to even guess where she is, or why she has not come to me."

He then raised up, and took the letter he referred to out of a package, evidently made up of my epistles, and read it to me. He also showed me a picture of myself, which he produced from some hiding-place in his pocket, and handed it to me, saying, "That is the woman I love; what do you think of her?"

A Portrait And Its Original.

This was almost too much for me; and all trembling with emotion, I handed it back to him, saving, "She is a fine-looking woman;" and wondering he did not observe the resemblance between the portrait and the original before him.

"Yes," said he, "and she is just as good as she is good-looking. I think the world of her, and want to see her again — O, so bad!"

"Have you known her long, captain?" I asked, with a trembling voice, and scarcely daring to trust myself to speak, for these words, and the tender tone in which they were spoken, made my heart leap with joy, and brought tears to my eyes. I was afraid that he would notice my agitation, and in some way surmise the cause of it; and I did not want him to do this, for I was not yet ready to reveal myself, but desired further to hear what he would say about me before I told him my secret. So I turned away, and pretended to be attracted by some object in another part of the room while I wiped the tears from my eyes, and attempted to recover my composure before I confronted him again.

"Yes," he went on, "I have known her for a long time. She is a widow, and her husband was an excellent friend of mine." Then, apparently suddenly recollecting the circumstances under which he first made my acquaintance in the character of a Confederate officer, he said, glancing quickly and eagerly at me, "Why, you ought to know her; her husband was the first captain of our company; you recollect him, surely."

"O," said I, as if rather surprised at this revelation, "she is his widow, is she?"

"Yes," said Captain De Caulp; "you have met her, have you not?"

I could scarcely help smiling at the turn this conversation was taking; and still wondering whether my lover would be shrewd enough to detect the likeness between the picture he was holding in his hand, and fondly gazing at, and the original of it who was sitting by his bedside, I said, "Yes, I have had a slight acquaintance with her, but you, probably, have known her longer than I have. When did you see her last?"

"I have not seen her for three years," he replied.

"Have you been engaged to her that long?"

"O, no; I did not become engaged to her until about six months after the death of her husband. He was killed, as you know, at Pensacola, just after the war commenced, by the bursting of a carbine."

"Well, if you have not seen her all that time, how have you managed to do your courting?"

"O, that was easy enough. After her husband's death, we had some correspondence about the settlement of his affairs, and we kept on writing to each other after these were arranged. I always had a great liking for her, as I thought that she was a first-rate woman, of the kind that you don't meet every day; and, consequently, after about six months, I asked her to marry me. She was a sound, sensible, patriotic woman, who admired me for going to the front more than she would have done had I remained at home to court her, and she accepted me without hesitation."

The Pleasures Of Courtship.

"I understand the situation now, and I hope you have secured a prize. It seems to me, however, that it would be pleasant for both parties if you could do a little courting in person before you get married; and if I were you, I would try and go to her."

"I intend to go to her just as soon as I have health and strength to travel, for I feel that I must see her."

"Yes," said I, "you ought to go for your own sake as well as for that of the lady. You have done enough hard fighting for the present, and you are entitled to take a rest."

"I don't intend to leave the army permanently unless I am obliged to; but, as you say, I need a rest, and I am determined that I will go home and get married if it costs me my commission. I am now improving rapidly, and I trust that God will restore me to perfect health soon."

"What would you give," — and my voice was so choked with emotion that I could scarcely utter these words, — "What would you give if you could see your lady now?"

"O," said he, — and his eye sparkled, and the color flushed into his cheeks as he spoke, — "I would almost give my existence in heaven."

I could not bear to hear any more; but dreading lest he should notice my agitation, and inquire the cause of it, I made a hasty excuse for concluding the interview, and saying good-by, left the room so abruptly that he must have seen there was something the matter with me.

It would be foolish in me, in attempting to tell this story of the culmination of my strange courtship, to make a secret of the emotions that filled my breast at the results of this interview with Captain De Caulp. I felt that I loved him

more than ever, and that he was more than worthy of me. I wept the first genuine womanly tears I had shed for many a day, but they were tears of joy, — of joy at the thought that I had such a lover as this, and that the day of our union was certainly not far distant.

The next morning I wrote him a note in my proper person, stating that I had arrived, and was coming to see him. On the receipt of this he was nearly wild with excitement, and it was as much as Dr. Benton could do to keep him in his bed. Burning with anxiety to see what the effect upon him of the letter would be, I followed hard after the bearer, and waiting until he would have a fair opportunity to master its contents, I passed by the door in such a manner that he could not fail to see me. So soon as he caught sight of me, he called out, in an exultant tone, "Lieutenant, come in. I want to talk to you;" and holding out the note, which I had written but a few moments before, towards me, he said, with the happiest smile I ever saw on a human face, "She has come, — she has come, and will be here soon; congratulate me, my friend."

An Agitating Occasion.

I was greatly agitated, not only at the sight of his extreme happiness, but because I felt that the dreaded hour was now come when I must reveal my secret to him. I loved him most fondly; and it was but yesterday that I had heard from his own lips assurances of his affection for me, the verity of which it was impossible for me to doubt; and yet I dreaded whether his feelings towards me might not change when he heard my story. I felt that they ought not, and I did not believe that they would; but I had heard so many men, and good men too, speak harshly with regard to women undertaking to play the rôle that I had, that my very love gave encouragement to my fears lest Captain De Caulp — when he learned I had been in the army ever since the outbreak of the war, and from before the date of our engagement, disguised as a man — would regard my course with such disapproval that he would refuse to consider the motives which induced me to adopt the course I had taken.

The situation was, for me, painful beyond expression; and although I felt that the secret must now be told, I scarcely knew how to tell it, or how to begin an even ordinary friendly conversation with him. The disclosure which I was about to make was, moreover, one that was meant for no other ears than his, and was certainly not a proper one for the public ward of the hospital. My first care, therefore, was to get him to a place where we could converse without being overheard, and so I said, "Captain, I congratulate you heartily, and I hope to have the pleasure of meeting with your lady. As you expect to have a visit from her soon, and as you will doubtless want to talk over a great number of confidential matters, don't you think that it would be better if the doctor were to move you into a private room?"

He said, "Yes; thank you for the suggestion; that is just what I would like. I wish you would tell the doctor I want to see him."

I accordingly conveyed his message with all possible despatch, and the doctor very cheerfully granted his request, and had him taken to a private chamber. A barber was then sent for, and he was shaved, and made to look as nicely as possible; and it touched me deeply to notice what pains he took to make himself presentable, in view of the expected arrival of his lady-love, whom, by the anxious manner in which he glanced at the door, he was evidently looking for every minute, and almost dreading her arrival before he was ready to receive her.

A Revelation To Be Made.

So soon as we were alone together, I said gravely, "Now, captain, I have something of great importance to say to you before your sweetheart comes."

He looked at me wonderingly, evidently impressed by my manner, and apparently half fearing that something had occurred to defeat his expectations.

I then knelt by the bedside, and taking from my pocket a picture of himself that he had sent me, and his last letter, said, "Did you ever see these before?"

He glanced at them, recognized them, and turned deadly pale. His hand trembled so that he could scarcely hold the picture and the letter, and looking at me with a scared expression, he gasped, "Yes, they are mine! Where did you get them? Has anything happened?["]

"No, no, captain," I exclaimed. "You must not be frightened; nothing has happened that will be displeasing to you."

"But I don't understand," he said; "how did you get these?"

"Ah!" I said, "that is my secret just now. You know you told me last night, when you showed me the portrait of your lady, that you had not seen her for three years; are you so very sure of that?"

He still failed to comprehend what I meant, and stared at me in astonishment. I, therefore, went to his pocket, and got the picture, and, placing it in his hand, said, "Now take a good look at that, and tell me if you have not seen somebody very much like it inside of three years."

He looked at the picture, and then at me, with a most puzzled expression, unable to say anything, until I, oppressed with his silence, and unable to endure longer a scene that was becoming most painful to both of us, said, "Well, captain, don't you think that the picture of your lady-love looks the least bit like your friend Harry Buford?"


A light seemed to suddenly break upon him; he gasped for breath, and sank back overcome on his pillow, the great drops of perspiration standing out all over his forehead. Then, raising himself, he looked me hard in the face, and, grasping my hand tightly, exclaimed, "Can it be possible that you are she?"

"Yes," said I, clasping his hand still tighter, "I am, indeed, your own Loreta. It was your sweetheart who fought by your side at the great battle of Shiloh; and not only on that occasion, but ever since the outbreak of the war she has been doing a soldier's work for the cause of the Confederacy. Can you love her a little for that as well as for herself? or will you despise her because she was not willing to stay at home like other women, but undertook to appear on the battle-field in the guise of a man for the purpose of doing a man's duty?"

"I love you ten times more than ever for this, Loreta!" he said, with a vehemence that brought tears of joy to my eyes.

I then went into a long explanation of my reasons for acting as I had done, and gave him an outline of my adventures, reserving the details for a future time when he would be stronger and less agitated. He suggested that I should not reveal the secret to any one else just at present; whereupon I proposed that we should continue as we were until the war was over, I to make such arrangements, however, as would enable me to be near him. He would not listen to anything of this kind, but said, "No, my noble lady, I can never permit that; I cannot consent to part from you again until I have called you by the endearing name of wife." He then burst into tears, and, leaning his face on my shoulder, said, between his sobs, "O, Loreta, can it be possible that you have been so far from me, and yet so near to me, all this time?"

a href="velazquez--woman_in_battle_files/velaz333.jpg">

This interview had agitated both of us greatly, and, as Captain De Caulp was still very weak, I was somewhat fearful of the consequences to him; so I tore myself away, after promising to see him again soon, and requesting him to compose himself, and not let his excitement retard his recover.

The crisis was past for me, and all was well. I had the strongest assurances that a woman could have of the undivided love of as noble a man as ever breathed; and to say that I was supremely happy, but faintly expresses what I felt as I left the chamber of Captain De Caulp. It all seemed like a dream to me, but it was a happy one, and I desired never to awaken from it. I was of too practical and decided a disposition, however, to give way to mere sentiment on such an occasion as this; and the fact that my lover was still confined to a sick-bed rendered it the more important that I should be about, and making such preparations as were necessary for our approaching marriage.

I felt quite strong enough to leave the hospital, and told Dr. Hay so. He was a little dubious about it; but finally consented that I should go out on condition that I would take good care of myself, and not attempt to enjoy out-of-door life too much of a sudden. As he was himself about going out as I was prepared to leave the hospital, I walked down the street with him, holding his arm. As we were sauntering along, I asked him, "Doctor, how do you like Captain De Caulp?"

"O, very much, indeed!" said he. "He is a perfect gentleman in every respect, and a man of very polished manners and superior talents. He is of foreign extraction, think."

"Yes," said I, "I believe he is. I have known him for five years, and I think a great deal of him. I was with him at the battle of Shiloh, and he behaved like a true hero."

"Ah, indeed!" said the doctor; "I knew that you were acquainted, but I did not know that you had served together during the war."

"Do you think he will soon be well?" I inquired. "He seems to be getting along quite nicely."

"O, yes, if he takes proper care of himself. He has had a pretty hard time of it, but I don't see any reason why he should not be in a fair way for recovery now, provided nothing occurs to set him back. He will have to look out, and not expose himself too much, however, for a while yet."

At the corner of White Hall Street I left the doctor to go to the depot. He said, as I parted from him, "You must be careful, and not exercise too much, lieutenant, or you will suffer for it. You are scarcely fairly on your feet as yet."

I promised to take care of myself, and went to the depot, arriving there just as the down train was coming in. I met a number of persons with whom I was acquainted, and after some conversation with them, took a turn as far as General Wash. Lee's office, where I had a chat about the way things were going at the front. I then returned to the hospital, and asked for my discharge. This was granted me, and I also obtained a ticket to go to Montgomery, where I had some business to attend to.

On my arrival at Montgomery, I found that the person I wanted to see was at Camp Watts. I accordingly went there; and having seen him, arranged the business I had made the trip for, and then returned to Montgomery, where I remained all night. The next day I returned to Atlanta, and went immediately to the hospital to visit Captain De Caulp. To my great joy I found him out of bed, and so much improved that he was confident of being well enough to walk out.

We, therefore, went down to the Thompson House together, and I engaged a room, and set about making preparations for my marriage.

I was anxious that the affair should pass off as quietly as possible, and particularly desired not to give any opportunity for unseemly gossip or talk; and on discussing the matter with Captain De Caulp, we came to the conclusion that it would be better to tell the whole story to Drs. Benton and Hammond, and to ask them to witness the ceremony, under a promise to say nothing to any one about the fact of my having

worn the uniform of a Confederate officer. We, however, resolved to take no one else into our confidence, although there were several good friends of both of us in the town, whom we would have been glad to have had at our wedding.

I procured a sufficiency of woman's apparel for my wedding outfit, by purchasing at a variety of places, under the pleas that I wanted the garments for some persons out of town, or for presents to the girls at the hotel — in fact, making up whatever story I thought would answer my purpose. My trousseau was, perhaps, not so complete or so elegant as it might have been under some circumstances, or as I could have desired; but then, the particular circumstances under which the wedding was to take place were peculiar, and neither the bridegroom nor the bride was disposed to be over ceremonious, or to make much ado about trifles. So long as the captain and myself were satisfied, it did not much matter whether any one else was pleased or not; and we both concluded that a very modest wardrobe would be all that I would need, the main thing being that I should be dressed as a woman when the ceremony took place, for fear of creating too much of a sensation, and, perhaps, of making the clergyman feel unpleasant should I appear before him, hanging on the captain's arm, in my uniform.

My arrangements having all been made, we concluded to inform the friends whom we had agreed to invite; and accordingly we walked to the hospital together, when the captain called Dr. Benton into his private room, and astonished him by telling him that he was going to be married, and by asking him to attend the wedding. I broke the news as gently as I could to Dr. Hammond, who scarcely knew what to make of it at first, but who, when I made him clearly understand the situation, gave me his hearty congratulations, and promised to be present when the happy event came off.

A Wedding.

The next day Captain De Caulp and I were married in the parlor of the hotel by the Rev. Mr. Pinkington, the post chaplain, in as quiet and unpretentious a way as either of us could desire. The clergyman and our kind friends wished us all manner of happiness; and we both looked forward to a bright future, when, after the war was over, we could settle down in

our home, and enjoy the blessings of peace in each other's society. Alas! if wishes could only make us happy, there would be but little misery in this world of ours. Neither Captain De Caulp nor myself, as we stood up that day, and pronounced the words that made us man and wife, had any but pleasant anticipations for the future, and little imagined how brief a time we would be permitted to be together.

I was very desirous of resuming my uniform, and of accompanying my husband to the field. I wanted to go through the war with him, and to fight by his side, just as I had done at Shiloh. He, however, was bitterly opposed to this; and, with my ample knowledge of army life, I could not but admit the full force of his objections. He contended, that, apart from everything else, I had served my country long enough as a soldier, and that I was under some obligation now to think of him as well as of myself, and no longer to peril life, health, and reputation by exposing myself, as I had been doing. He said that he would fight twice as hard as before, and that would answer for both of us, although he was not sure but that what I had done ought to count in his favor, — as man and wife were one, — and procure him a release from further service.

I very reluctantly yielded an assent to his wishes, although, if I could have looked a little into the future, I either would have prevented his going to the front at all, or else would have insisted upon going with him. Indeed, he ought not to have gone when he did; but he knew that the services of every man were needed, and so soon as he was at all able to be on duty, he felt as if he was shirking his share of the work by remaining at the rear when so much hard fighting was going on.

Our honeymoon was a very brief one. In about a week he thought himself well enough to report for duty; and he insisted upon going, notwithstanding my entreaties for him to remain until his health was more robust. Had he been really fit to endure the exposure and toil of campaigning, I would never have offered to stay him by a word; for my patriotism, although perhaps not of so fiery a nature, was as intense now as it was when I besought my first husband to permit me to accompany him to the field; and I considered it the duty of every man, who was at all able to take a hand in the great work of resisting the advance of the enemy, to do so. But Captain De Caulp, I knew, was far from being the strong man he once was, and I feared the consequences should he persist in carrying out his resolve.

He did persist, however, in spite of all I could say; and so, when I found that further argument would be useless, I prepared his baggage, and bade him a sorrowful adieu. Alas! the adieu was a final one, for I never saw him afterwards; and within three short weeks of my marriage, I was a widow again!

Death Of My Husband.

Before reaching his command, Captain De Caulp was taken sick again; and before I obtained any information of his condition, he had died in a Federal hospital in Chattanooga. This was a terrible blow to me, for I tenderly loved my husband, and was greatly beloved by him. Our short married life was a very happy one, and its sudden ending brought to nought all the pleasant plans I had formed for the future, and left me nothing to do but to launch once more on a life of adventure, and to devote my energies to the advancement of the Confederate cause.

Captain De Caulp was a native of Edinburgh, Scotland. His father was of French descent, and his mother was a Derbyshire woman. He was very highly educated, having studied in England and France with the intention of becoming a physician. His fondness for roaming, however, induced him to abandon this design; and in 1857 he and his brother came to this country, and travelled over the greater part of it until 1859. In the last-named year he joined the United States army, but on the breaking out of the war, he came South, and offered his services to the Confederacy. From first to last he fought nobly for the cause which he espoused, and he died in the firm belief that the Southern States would ultimately gain their independence.

Few more honorable, or truer, or braver, men than Captain De Caulp have ever lived. He was tall in stature, with a very imposing presence. His hair was auburn, and he had a large, full, dark, hazel eye. He was a very powerful man, but as gentle as a child, and exceedingly affable in his disposition, and remarkably prepossessing in his manners. At the time of his death he was about twenty-nine years of age. I made an endeavor to procure his body for the purpose of sending it to his relatives in Scotland, in accordance with his last request; but, owing to the exigencies of the military situation, — the Federals being in possession of Chattanooga, — I was unable to do so.

Captain De Caulp's brother was also in the Southern army, and also held the rank of captain. He died in Nashville just after the close of the war, leaving a wife, who died in New York.


Altered Circumstances. — The Result of two Years and a half Experience in Warfare. — The Difference between the Emotions of a raw Recruit and a Veteran. — Difficulties in the Way of deciding what Course it was best to pursue for the Future. — I resolve to go to Richmond in Search of active Employment of some Kind. — The military Situation in the Autumn of 1863. — Concentration of the Armies at Richmond and Chattanooga. — Richmond safe from Capture. — The Results of the Battle of Chickamauga. — Rosecrans penned up in Chattanooga by Bragg. — The Pinch of the Fight approaching. — Hopes of foreign Intervention. — An apparently encouraging Condition of Affairs. — I go to Richmond, and have Interviews with President Davis and General Winder. — I am furnished by the latter with a Letter of Recommendation, and start on a grand Tour through the Confederacy. — Arrival at Mobile, and meeting with old Army Friends.

WHEN, under the influence of the grief caused by the sudden death of my second husband, within so brief a period after our marriage, I felt impelled to devote myself anew to the task of advancing the cause of the Confederacy by all the means in my power, the circumstances were all materially different from what they were when, the first time I was made a widow, I started for Virginia, full of the idea of taking part in whatever fighting was to be done. It was no longer possible for me to figure as successfully in the character of a soldier as I had done. My secret was now known to a great many persons, and its discovery had already caused me such annoyance that I hesitated about assuming my uniform again, especially as I believed that, as a woman, I could perform very efficient service if I were only afforded proper opportunity.

At the time of my first husband's death, I was full of an idea which had filled my brain ever since I could remember, and was bent upon accomplishing it at all hazards. I had attired myself in the uniform of an officer, had enlisted a large body of men by my own unaided exertions, had marched them from Arkansas to Pensacola, and was firmly resolved to see some fighting, and to win some military glory, if any was to be won. My desire was that my husband should command the battalion I had raised, and should permit me to serve with him. His death, however, frustrated my plans, and threw me on my own resources. I was then inspired, not only with a desire to win personal distinction, but to avenge him; and I started for the front with the vaguest possible idea concerning what warfare really was, or what I was to do. My main thought, however, was to see a battle, and to take part in one. I had been reading all my life about heroic deeds, and dreaming day and night about the achievement of glory, and was, perhaps, more impressed with the notion of becoming a second Joan of Arc than anything else.

After nearly two years and a half experience of warfare, these early ideas, when I reflected upon the hap-hazard manner in which I had started out, appeared ludicrous enough in some of their aspects, and yet I would have given a great deal could I have been impressed with some of my original enthusiasm, when, a second time a widow, I made up my mind again to take part, in some shape, in the great conflict which was yet far from its close.

The Lessons Of Experience.

I had seen enough of fighting, enough of marching, enough of camp life, enough of prisons and hospitals, and I had passed through enough peril and suffering to satisy any reasonable human being. These experiences, however, while they had made me weary of war, would also, I well knew, especially qualify me to perform any work I might undertake in a most satisfactory manner, and would render my services much more valuable than they could have been in the early days of the contest. It was a feverish desire to be in motion, to be doing something, to have occupation for mind and body, such as would prevent me from dwelling on my griefs, more than any ambitious designs or aspirations for personal distinctions, that now impelled me to seek for employment in some shape, under the Confederate government, which would enable me to do something further to advance the interest of the cause to which I had already given myself, heart and soul, during more than two of the best years of my life.

That I did not feel exactly the same enthusiasm now that I did in the spring of 1861, was due, not to any feeling of coldness towards the cause, nor to any lack of disposition to do anything in my power to win the final victory, which I still hoped, in spite of every discouragement, would crown our efforts, but to circumstances which every veteran soldier will appreciate. These circumstances were the more potent in my case from the fact that I was a woman, and in endeavoring to carry out my notions with regard to the best way of making my services of the utmost value, was consequently hampered in many ways that men were not. For having dared to assume a man's garb, for the purpose of doing a man's work, I had been treated with contumely, on more than one occasion, by those who ought at least to have given me credit for my intentions, and although my comrades of the camp and the battle-field — or at least all of them whose good opinion was worth having — esteemed me for what I had done, and for what I tried to do, bestowing ample praise upon me for my valor and efficiency as a soldier, I was getting out of the notion of subjecting myself to the liability of being locked up by every local magistrate within whose jurisdiction I happened to find myself, simply because I did not elect to dress according to his notions of propriety.

A Perplexing Situation.

I was a little dubious, therefore, with regard to what course it was best for me to pursue, especially as, apart from all other considerations, my health was not so robust as it had been, and my husband's fate was a warning to me not to expose myself as I had been in the habit of doing, at least until I had fully regained my strength. On reviewing the whole subject in my mind, I became more than ever convinced that the secret service rather than the army would afford me the best field for the exercise of my talent, although I almost more than half made up my mind to enter the army again, and try my luck, as I had originally done, disguised as an officer, in case I found it impossible to become attached to the secret service department in the manner I wished.

I finally concluded that the best thing for me to do was to go to Richmond, and if nothing else availed, to make a personal appeal to President Davis, feeling assured that when he heard my story he would appreciate the motives which animated me, and would use his influence to have me assigned to such duty as I was best qualified to perform in a satisfactory manner. This resolve having once been made, I prepared, without more delay, to visit the capital of the Confederacy, leaving behind me Atlanta, with its mingled memories of pleasure and pain.

The Progress Of The War.

The military situation at this time — the autumn of 1863 — was of painful interest, and the fate of the Confederacy seemed to hang trembling in the balance. In Virginia, General Lee was defending Richmond with all his old success, and was holding one immense army in check so effectively that the prospect of ever entering the Confederate capital as conquerors must have seemed to the enemy more remote than ever. In the West and South, however, the Confederates had lost much, and the question now with them was, whether they would be able to hold what they had until the Federals were tired out and exhausted, or until England and France, wearied of the prolonged contest, consented to aid in terminating it by recognizing the Confederacy, and perhaps by armed intervention.

It was known that there were dissensions at the North, and that there was a strong anti-war party, which it was expected would, ere long, make its power felt as it had never done before; and if the South could hold out for a season longer, would insist upon a peace being concluded upon almost any terms. Great expectations were also built upon foreign intervention, which every one felt had been delayed longer than there was any just reason for, but which it was thought could not but take place shortly. Every little while exciting rumors were set afloat, no one knew how or by whom, that either France or England had recognized the Confederacy, and many bitter disappointments were caused when their falsity was proved. The people, however, hoped on, getting poorer and poorer every day, and eagerly watching the progress of the campaign around Chattanooga.

The Mississippi River was now entirely in the hands of the Federals, and not only were the trans-Mississippi states, as far as any effective military or political co-operation was concerned, lost to the Confederacy, but the question now was whether the war was not to be transferred from the ground west of the mountains to the rich fields of Georgia. Bragg had been compelled to fall back with most of his forces to Chattanooga, and had been expelled from that place, which was now in the hands of the Federals. All efforts on the part of the Federals to advance beyond Chattanooga, however, had utterly failed, and the opinion, at the time of which I am writing, was gaining ground that they had been caught in a trap, and would, in a short time, be incapable of either advancing or retreating.

While I was in the hospital, Bragg gained his great victory at Chickamauga, and great hopes were excited that he would be able to follow it up with effect, and succeed in destroying the army of Rosecrans. Had he succeeded in doing this, the war would have had a different ending, and the independence of the South would have been secured. It was felt by everybody that the pinch of the fight was approaching, and that in the neighborhood of Chattanooga, rather than in that of Richmond, would the decisive battle of the war be fought, and, it was hoped, won for the Confederacy.

It was at Richmond and at Chattanooga that the contending forces were massed, although there was plenty of fighting going on elsewhere, and some of these minor campaigns were of great importance in their influence on the fortunes of the war, and did much to enable the Confederacy to prolong the contest for nearly eighteen months.

Much as we had lost, the situation was not an altogether discouraging one for the Confederacy. Richmond was apparently more secure than it had been two years and a half before, and nearly all the honors of the war in that vicinity had been carried off by the Confederates. Lee was making himself a name as one of the greatest generals of the age, while the Federals, although they changed the commanders of their army continually, were making no headway against him, and were in constant fear of an invasion of their own territory. In the South, Bragg had just achieved a great victory over Rosecrans, and had him now penned up in Chattanooga, from which it was next to impossible for him to escape in either direction, and to keep him there, and either fight him or starve him into surrendering before sufficient re-enforcement to enable him to assume the offensive, was the task the Confederate army had before it.

Well, matters did not turn out as it was expected they would. Bragg's victory at Chickamauga was a fruitless one, except so far as it delayed the Federal advance from Chattanooga, and the army of Rosecrans was neither starved nor beaten into subjection. On the contrary, Rosecrans was superseded, and Grant was put in his place, to follow up the victories he had won at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, and Vicksburg; and the army was so greatly re-enforced that it was enabled to press forward and menace Atlanta, and finally to capture it. The results of that capture are well known.

Off For Richmond Again.

The capture of Atlanta, however, was a long way off when I started for Richmond for the purpose of making a definite offer of my services to the Confederate authorities there, and was apparently as little likely to occur as was that of Richmond. Bad as the condition of things, in many particulars, was, I was in a more hopeful frame of mind than I had been for a long time, and I was anxious to labor, as I felt that I was able to labor, in behalf of the cause.

Had I then known as much as I knew not a great while after, I would not have put myself to the trouble of going to Richmond for the purpose of asking for work, but would at once have executed the project which I had frequently contemplated, and which I had more than once been on the point of carrying into effect, and would have gone directly north, and have put myself in communication with, the friends, sympathizers, and agents of the Confederacy there. This was the true field for me to operate in, although I had no idea, at this time, what opportunities a residence at the North would give me for aiding the cause in a most efficient manner. It was chance rather than design that finally took me within the jurisdiction of the Federal government, and enabled me to do more to baffle its efforts to crush the Confederacy by my operations in the rear of its armies in one year, than I had been able to do in three while endeavoring to fight them face to face.

Interviews With President Davis And General Winder.

With only the most indefinite plans for the future, and little suspecting what exciting and perilous adventures fate yet had in store for me, I proceeded, on my arrival in Richmond, to call

on General Winder, and took measures to procure an interview with President Davis. From General Winder I did not obtain much satisfaction; and Mr. Davis, while he was very kind to me, did not give me a great deal of encouragement. I represented to President Davis that I had been working hard for the Confederacy, both as a soldier and a spy, and that I had braved death on more than one desperately fought battle-field while acting as an independent, and that now I thought I was deserving of some official recognition. Moreover, I had lost my husband through his devotion to the cause, and, both for his sake and for my own, I desired that the government would give me such a position in the secret service corps or elsewhere as would enable me to carry on with the best effect the work that he and I had begun.

Mr. Davis was opposed to permitting me to serve in the army as an officer, attired in male costume, while he had no duties to which he could properly assign me as a woman. I left his presence, not ungratified by the kindness of his manner towards me, and the sympathy which he expressed for my bereavement, but none the less much disappointed at the non-success of my interview with him.

Failing to obtain any satisfaction from Mr. Davis, I returned to General Winder, but got comparatively little encouragement from him. He finally, however, consented to give me a letter of recommendation to the commanding officer of the forces in the South and West, and transportation. This was not exactly what I wanted, but it was better than nothing; and I thought that, armed with such a letter, I could scarcely fail to accomplish something that would be satisfactory to myself, and of value to the cause.

On Another Grand Tour.

Having obtained this important document I started off, and, for the last time, made a grand tour of the entire Southern Confederacy. Stopping from point to point, I gathered all the information I could, and thoroughly posted myself with regard to the situation, — military, civil, and political, — and endeavored to find a place where I could commence active operations with the best chance of achieving something of importance.

I, however, during the course of a long journey, failed to meet with the grand opportunity I sighed for, and met with no adventure worthy of particular record, until finally I reached Mobile — a city I had not visited since I marched through it in 1861 at the head of my gallant battalion of Arkansas Grays.

On arriving at Mobile, I took up my quarters at the Battle House, with the intention of taking a good rest, for I was weary with much travel, and, if possible, of arranging some definite plan of action for the future. I was resolved now to make a bold stroke of some kind, and on my own responsibility if necessary, trusting that my usual good luck would accompany me in any enterprise I might undertake.

In Mobile I met quite a number of officers whom I had met on the various battle-fields where I had figured, and received the kindest and best attentions from them all. This was most gratifying to me; and the flattering commendations that were bestowed upon me served to mitigate in a great degree the disappointment I felt on account of the non-recognition of the value of my services in other quarters.

I may as well say here, that in mentioning the disappointments I have felt at different times at not being able to obtain exactly the kind of official recognition I desired, I do not wish to appear as complaining. That I did feel disappointed, is true; but reflection told me that if any one was to blame it was myself. By entering the army as an independent, I secured a freedom of action and opportunities for participating in a great variety of adventures that I otherwise would not have had, but I also cut myself off from opportunities of regular promotion. When I resolved to start out as an independent, I was animated by a variety of motives, not the least of which was, that I believed I would be able to maintain my disguise to better advantage, and would have better opportunities for escaping any unpleasant consequences in case of detection than if I attached myself regularly to a command. I was right in this, and am now convinced that, on the whole, the course I pursued was the wisest one.

Not having been attached to a regular command, at least for any great length of time, it was impossible for me, however, to secure that standing with those who were best able to reward my services that was necessary, while the full value of my services could only be made known by my taking a number of people into my confidence, and this I had great objections to doing. As matters turned out, the peculiar experiences through which I passed, during the first two years of the war, were of the utmost value to me in a great many ways in the prosecution of the very important work in which I subsequently engaged; and I consequently had no cause for regret at having followed the line of action I did. At the time of which I am writing, however, I could not know what the future would bring forth; and although, without being aware of it, I was about to enter upon a series of enterprises of great moment, all my plans seemed to have gone amiss, and I certainly was not in the most pleasant state of mind imaginable.

In writing this narrative, it has seemed to me that the only proper method is to represent events as they actually occurred, and to record the impressions they made upon me at the time of occurrence, and not as they were colored by subsequent developments. My ideas and feelings under particular circumstances are as much a part of my story as the narrative of actual events, for my proceedings were guided and influenced by them; and this would scarcely be a fair record of my career while in the Confederate service did I not make some mention of them.


I receive a mysterious Note requesting me to meet the Writer. — I go to the appointed Place, and find an Officer of the Secret Service Corps who wants me to go through the Lines with Despatches. — I accept the Commission, and the next Day go to Meridian for the Purpose of completing my Arrangement and receiving my Instructions. — A Visit to General Ferguson's Headquarters. — Final Instructions from the General, who presents me with a Pistol. — I start for the Federal Lines, and ride all Night and all the next Day. — A rough and toilsome Journey. — I spend the Night in a Negro's Cabin. — Off again at three o'clock in the Morning with an old Negro Man for a Guide. — We reach the Neighborhood of the Federal Pickets, and I send my Guide back. — I bury my Pistol in a Church. — I am halted by a Picket-guard and am taken to Moscow. — A Cross-examination by the Colonel in Command. — Satisfactory Result for myself. — On the Train for Memphis. — Insulting Remarks from the Soldiers. — A Major interferes for my Protection. — Off for General Washburn's Headquarters.

SHORTLY after my arrival at Mobile, I received a rather mysterious note in a masculine hand, asking me to meet the writer that evening at the corner of the square, but giving no hint whatever of the purpose of the invitation. I hesitated for some little time about taking any notice of the request, thinking that if the writer had any real business with me, he would seek me out and communicate with me in a some less mysterious way. On a little reflection, however, I concluded that it would be best for me to meet the gentleman, whoever he might be, according to the terms of his invitation, and to find out who he was and what he wanted. I felt tolerably well able to take care of myself, although I was aware that the circumstances of my army career being rather extensively known, I was especially liable to annoyances of a peculiarly unpleasant kind from impertinent people. Anything of this sort I was resolved to resent in such a manner that the offender would have occasion to beware of me in the future.

The fact, however, that I was travelling under credentials from General Winder, and was in a manner an attaché of the Secret Service Department, rendered it not improbable that this was an application for me to undertake some such enterprise as I for a long time had been ardently desirous of engaging in. The more I considered the matter, the more I was disposed to take this view of it, and accordingly, at the hour named, I was promptly at the rendezvous, wondering what the result of the adventure would be.

A Mysterious Conference.

My surmise proved to be correct. I had scarcely arrived at the corner of the square, when my correspondent, who I discovered was Lieutenant Shorter, of Arkansas, advanced towards me, and said, "Good evening. I am glad to see you. How have you been?"

"I am quite well," I replied; and waited for him to introduce the subject concerning which he was evidently desirous of conversing with me.

After a few inconsequential remarks on either side, he said, "I see that you received my note."


"Well you must excuse me for asking for a secret interview like this, but the matter I wanted to talk to you about is of great importance, and, as in these times, we don't know whom to trust, it was necessary that I should have an opportunity to carry on our conversation without danger of being watched or overheard. You have had considerable experience in running through the lines, and in spy and secret service duty, have you not?"

"Yes," I replied; "I have done something in that line."

"You have usually been tolerably lucky, haven't you?"

"Yes, I have had reasonably good luck. I got caught once in New Orleans, but that was because the parties to whom I had delivered my despatches were captured. Butler tried his hand at frightening me, but he did not succeed very well, and I managed to slip away from him before he had any positive evidence against me which would have justified him in treating me as a spy."

"Well, you're just the kind I want, for I have a job on hand that will require both skill and nerve, and I would like you to undertake it, especially as you seem to have a talent for disguising yourself."

I concluded that I would find out exactly what he wanted me to do, before I gave him any satisfaction; so I said, "What kind of a job is it? I have risked my neck pretty often without getting very many thanks for it, and I don't know that I care a great deal about running all kinds of risks for little glory, and no more substantial reward."

"O, come, now," said he, "you must not talk that way. Now is the very time that your services will be worth something; and this bit of business that I am anxious for you to undertake, is of such a nature, that it would not do to give it to any but a first-rate hand."

"Well, what is it? When I know what you want me to do, I will be better able to say whether it would be worth my while to do it."

"Wouldn't you like to take a trip through the lines?" said the lieutenant.

"That depends," said I. "What do you want me to make the trip for?"

"I will tell you that, when you tell me whether you will go."

I considered a moment, and then said, "Yes, I will go, if it is for anything to serve the cause."

"That's the way to talk," said he. "I am in the secret service, and I want you to take a despatch through the lines and give it to a certain party. It will be a big thing if you succeed, as I think you will, or I wouldn't have picked you out for the business."

"Well," said I, "I will make an effort, and do my best to succeed."

"O, you must succeed," said the lieutenant; "for there will be the devil to pay if the Feds discover what you are up to, and you will have to do your prettiest to prevent them from even suspecting that you are up to any unlawful tricks."

"I'll do my best, and I can't do any more than that; but as I have fooled them before, so I guess I can again."

"Well," said he, "that's all right. Now, what I want you to do is, to meet me to-morrow evening at Meridian. I will have everything ready for you, and will give you your instructions, and you be prepared for a hard journey. In the mean time, keep quiet, and don't whisper a word to anybody."

We then said good night and parted, I going back to the hotel to do a heap of thinking before I went to sleep. Lieutenant Shorter, beyond saying that I was to go through the lines, and endeavoring to impress upon me the great importance of the enterprise, had given me no hint of where I was to go, or what the exact nature of my errand would be, and I consequently had to depend upon myself in making such preparations as were necessary. Having considered the subject as well as I was able, I concluded to procure a very plain suit of woman's clothing, and to make up a small bundle of such few extra articles besides those upon my back, as I thought I would require. My arrangements having been all made, I started for Meridian the next day, and on my arrival at that place found Lieutenant Shorter waiting for me at the depot. Under his escort I went to the hotel kept by a Mr. Jones, and was received with great cordiality by him and by his wife. The lady especially was most attentive to me, and did everything in her power to make me comfortable.

I appreciated her kind attentions the more highly as I was far from being well, and felt that I was scarcely doing either myself or the others interested justice in undertaking such an enterprise, under a strong liability that I might be taken seriously sick before concluding it. I had a great deal of confidence, however, in my power of will, and having promised Lieutenant Shorter that I would go, I was determined to do so, especially as he represented the business as being most urgent.

What I Was To Do.

Having obtained a room where we could converse privately, the lieutenant proceeded to explain what he wanted me to do, and to give me directions for proceeding. He said that he had captured a spy belonging to the Federal General Hurlbut's command, and had taken from him a paper containing quite accurate accounts of the forces of Chalmers, Forrest, Richardson, and Ferguson, and their movements. This he had changed so that it would throw the enemy on the wrong scent, and I was to take it to Memphis and deliver it to the Federal General Washburn, telling him such a story as would induce him to believe that I had obtained it from the spy. He also had a despatch for Forrest, which he wanted me to carry to the Confederate secret agent in Memphis, telling me where to find him, describing him so that I would know him, and giving me the password which would enable me to communicate with him without difficulty.

"Now," said Shorter, when he had finished all his explanations, "you see that you will have to keep your wits about you, for if you let the Feds get their fingers on these papers it will be all up with you. When you reach Memphis, deliver this bogus account of the movement of our troops to General Washburn immediately, and get him and his people well impressed with the idea that you are on their side; then, at the earliest possible moment, give this despatch for Forrest to our agent. I will know by the success of the movement that Forrest is to make whether you are successful or not."

After some further conversation about the best plan of proceeding, and further explanations about what I should do, Lieutenant Shorter suggested some changes in my dress, his idea being, that I should personate a poor countrywoman, who had lost her husband at the outbreak of the war, and who was flying into the Federal lines for protection. He also gave me letters to the different Confederate commanders whom I would meet on my road, directing them to assist me, and put in my hand the sum of one hundred and thirty-six dollars in greenbacks which had been taken from the captured spy. This, he thought, would see me through, but in case it should not prove sufficient, he said, that if I made my wants known, any commanding officer I met would supply me with funds, and that after I reached Memphis I would find plenty of friends of the Confederacy upon whom I could call for assistance.

Everything being in readiness for my journey, the next morning I took the train for Okolona, where, procuring a pass from Captain Mariotta, the provost marshal, I hired a conveyance, and drove to the headquarters of General Ferguson. On showing my order for assistance to the general, he received me with the greatest politeness, and invited me into his quarters, where he gave me some information and additional instructions, and reiterated Lieutenant Shorter's cautions to be vigilant and careful, as I was on a mission of great importance.

The general then handed me ninety dollars, and presented me with a pistol, which he said was one of a pair he had carried through the war. The money he was sure I would need, and the pistol might be a handy thing to have in case I should be compelled to defend myself, for my journey would take me through a rough country, and I might chance to meet with stragglers would give me trouble. He advised me, however, not to use the weapon except in case of absolute necessity, and especially not to carry it with me into the Federal lines, for if it was discovered that I had it about me, it might excite suspicions that I was a spy, when such a thing would not otherwise be thought of.

A fine horse having been provided for me, I said adieu to General Ferguson, who wished me good luck, and started off with an escort who was to conduct me to a point somewhere to the north-east of Holly Springs, from whence I would have to make my way alone, getting into the Federal lines as best I could.

A Rough Journey.

In spite of the fact that I was quite sick, and sometimes felt that I could scarcely sit upon my horse, I rode all that night and nearly all the next day, through lonesome woods, past desolate clearings, — occupied, if at all, by poor negroes, or even poorer whites, all of whom had a half-terrified look, as if they were expecting every moment to have a rapacious soldiery come tramping through their little patches of ground, and appropriating whatever was eatable or worth taking, — through gullies and ravines, and over the roughest kind of roads, or sometimes no roads at all. At length we reached a negro's cabin, which, although it was but a poor shelter, was better than nothing at all, and feeling too ill to proceed any farther without rest and refreshments, I resolved to stop there all night.

The inhabitants of the cabin were not very much inclined to be over communicative, and apparently did not want me for a lodger, and their abode was not one that I would have cared to make a prolonged sojourn in.. I was too much of a veteran campaigner, however, to be over fastidious about my accommodations for a single night, and was too sick not to find any shelter welcome. From what I could learn from these people, I was not very many miles from the Federal lines, and I secured their good will, to a reasonable degree, by promising to pay well for my night's lodging, and what was given me to eat, and finally succeeded in inducing them to bestir themselves to make me as comfortable as circumstances would permit. I also struck up a bargain with an old man who appeared to be the head of the household, such as it was, to act as a guide for me in the morning, and to conduct me to the neighborhood of the Federal pickets.

I wished my escort now to return to General Ferguson's headquarters, but, as he suggested that the negroes might prove treacherous, we both concluded that it would be best for him to remain until I was fairly started in the morning on my way to the Federal lines. A supper which, under some circumstances I would scarcely have found eatable, was prepared for us, and I partook of it with a certain degree of relish, despite the coarse quality of the food, being too tired and hungry to be critical or squeamish. Then, completely used up by my long and toilsome ride, I retired to the miserable bed that was assigned me, and ere long was in happy obliviousness of the cares and trials of this world.

About three o'clock in the morning I was up and ready to start, after having made a hasty toilet, and after a breakfast which served to satisfy my hunger, but which certainly did not tempt my palate. My escort now bade me good-by, and was soon out of sight, on his way back to camp, while I, mounted on a little pony, and with the old negro to lead the way, faced in the opposite direction.

Through woods, over fields, along rough country roads, and often along mere pathways that could not be called roads at all, making short cuts wherever we saw a chance to do so, often dubious as to exactly where we were, and dreading lest we should come suddenly upon some picket-station, and thus lose a chance of making a proper diplomatic approach, the negro and I pursued our way for several hours during the damp and dismal gray morning twilight.

Approaching The Federal Lines.

Not having the most implicit confidence in my guide, I took care to keep him in front of me all the time, and had my hand constantly upon the pistol which General Ferguson had given me, and which I was resolved to use upon my colored companion in case he should be inclined to act treacherously. Fortunately there was no occasion for any violence, and our journey continued without interruption, except such as was caused by the rough nature of the ground, until, at length, I spied through the trees a little church. It was now broad daylight, although the sun was not yet up, and the surroundings of this building, as it was seen through the fog-laden atmosphere, were dismal enough. I surmised, from what my guide had told me before we started out, that the Federal pickets must be somewhere near, and I concluded that it was time for me to get rid of the darkey; so I said to him, "Isn't that the church where you said you saw the Yankee soldiers?"

"Yes, miss, dat's de place; dey's jes' beyond dat church a bit or dey was las' week."

"Well, I want to find them; but I guess, if you don't want them to catch you, you'd better get back as quick as you can."

"O Lord, miss, I doesn't want dem to catch me, sure."

"Well, then, you will have to travel off as fast as you are able; if you don't, they will have you, and will run you off, and give you to the abolitionists."

I said this in a very severe way, and it evidently made an impression on the darkey, who probably thought the abolitionists were cannibals, who would proceed to use him as a substitute for beef. He opened his eyes as big as saucers, and his teeth chattered so that he could scarcely say, " Good-by, miss," as he darted off, clutching the ten-dollar Confederate bill that I had handed him in payment for his services.

Watching the old negro until he was out of sight, I rode up to the church, and dismounting, entered the building. My first care now was to get rid of my pistol, as I thought it would most probably be taken from me if the Federals found that I had it; and the discovery of it, secreted upon my person, would be not unlikely to cause me to be suspected of being a spy, which, of course, was the very thing I was most anxious to avoid. Raising a plank in the flooring, I put the pistol under it, and covered it well with dirt. My intention was to return this way, and I expected to get the weapon, and give it back to General Ferguson. Circumstances, however, induced me to change my plans; and as I have never visited the spot since, if the church is still standing, the pistol is probably where I placed it, for I buried it tolerably deep, and smoothed the dirt well over it, so that it would not be likely to be discovered except by accident.

As I stated before, my disguise, as I had arranged it with Lieutenant Shorter, was that of a poor countrywoman, and the story I was to tell was, that I was a widow, and was flying for protection to the Federal lines. Having disposed of the pistol, I sat down for a few minutes to think over the situation, and to decide upon the best method of procedure with the first Federal soldier I met. Experience had taught me, however, that no settled plan, in a matter of this kind, amounts to much, so far as the details are concerned, and that it is necessary to be governed by circumstances. I resolved, therefore, to regulate my conduct and conversation according to the character and behavior of those I chanced to meet; and so, having first ascertained that my papers were all right, I mounted my pony again, and started in the direction where I supposed I would find the Federal camp.

Meeting A Federal Picket.

Letting my pony take his own gait — and he was not inclined to make his pace any more rapid than there was necessity for — I travelled for a couple of miles before I saw any one. At length a picket, who had evidently been watching me for some time, stepped out of the woods into the road, and when I came up to him, he halted me, and asked where I was from, and where I was going.

"Good morning, sir," I said, in an innocent, unsophisticated sort of way. "Are you commanding this outpost?"

"No," he replied; "what do you want?"

"Well, sir, I wish you would tell the captain I want to see him."

"What do you want with the captain?"

"I have got a message to give the captain, but I can't give it to any one else."

"He is over there in the woods."

"Well, you just tell him that I want to see him quick, about something very important."

The soldier then called to his officer, and in a few moments up stepped a good-looking young lieutenant, whose blouse was badly out at the elbows, and whose clothing generally bore marks of very hard service. Although his attire was not of the most elegant description; he was a gentleman, and, as he approached me, he tipped his hat, and said, with a pleasant smile, "Good morning, madam; what is it you wish?"

"Are you the captain?" I queried.

"I am in command of this picket guard," he replied.

"Well, captain," said I, "I want to go to Memphis, to see General Washburn. I have some papers here for him."

This made him start a little, and he began to suspect that he had a matter of serious business on hand, and, evidently with a different interest in me from what he had felt before, he inquired, with a rather severe and serious air, "Where are you from, madam?"

"I am from Holly Springs. A man there gave me these papers, and told me that if I would get them through he would pay me a hundred dollars."

"What kind of looking man was he, and where did he go after he left you?"

"I mustn't tell you that, sir; the man said not to tell anything about him, except to the one these papers are for, and he would understand all about it."

"Well, madam, you will have to go with me to headquarters. When we get there I will see what can be done for you."

His relief came, not a great while after, and off we started for headquarters. As I had informed my new-made friend that I was hungry, having ridden for a considerable distance since very early in the morning, he stopped with me at a white house near the road, and sending the guard on, went in with me, and asked the woman, who appeared to be mistress of the establishment, to give me some breakfast. Quite a comfortable meal was soon in readiness, and while I was eating, the lieutenant busied himself in trying to ascertain something about the number and position of the Confederate troops. I told him that there seemed to be a large force of them near Holly Springs, but beyond that statement, — which was, I believe, far from being the truth, — I am afraid he did not find me a very satisfactory witness. I am sure that such information as I did give him was not likely to be of very great use.

Unpleasant Attentions From The Soldiers.

After I had finished my breakfast, the lieutenant took me to Moscow, on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, and here, for the first time, I was subjected to very serious annoyance, and first began to appreciate the fact that I was engaged in a particularly risky undertaking. The soldiers, seeing me coming into the town mounted on a ragged little pony, and under the escort of an officer, jumped at the conclusion that I was a spy, and commenced to gather round me in crowds.

"Who is she?" some one asked.

"O, she's a spy that the Illinois picket captured."

"You're gone up!" yelled some fellow in the crowd.

"Why don't they hang her?" was the pleasant inquiry of another.

These and other cheering comments greeted me on all sides, and some of the brutal fellows pushed against me, and struck my pony, and otherwise made my progress through the streets exceedingly unpleasant, notwithstanding the efforts of the lieutenant to protect me.

Finally we reached the building occupied by the colonel in command, and I was ushered by that official into a private room, in the rear of the one used as an office. The lieutenant accompanied me, and related the manner of my coming to the picket station, and the story which I had told him.

Under Cross-Examination.

The colonel then proceeded to cross-question me, being apparently desirous of finding out whether I was possessed of any information worth his knowing, as well as whether I was exactly what I professed to be. I flattered myself that I played my part tolerably well. I knew very little about the movements of the Confederates, or their number, but, under the process of rigid cross-questioning to which I was subjected, I said just enough to stimulate curiosity, pretending that what I was telling was what I had picked up merely incidentally, and that, as I took no interest in the fighting that was going on, except to desire to get as far away from it as possible, I really knew scarcely anything, except from rumor.

As for myself, I stuck close to one simple story. I was a poor widow woman, whose husband had died about the time of the breaking out of the war; I was for the Union, and had been badly treated by the rebels, who had robbed me of nearly everything, and I had been anxious to get away for some time with a little money I had collected, and had finally got tired of waiting for the Federal troops to come down my way, and had resolved to try and get through the lines; that a man had promised I should be paid a hundred dollars if I would carry a despatch to General Washburn, at Memphis, and had assisted me to get off; that I was to deliver the papers to General Washburn only, and was to tell him alone certain things that the man had told me; I had some friends in Ohio, to whom I was anxious to go, and I hoped that General Washburn, after I had given the despatch to him, would pay me the hundred dollars, and furnish me with a pass to go North.

The colonel tried to make me vary this story, and he several times pretended that I had contradicted myself. He was tolerably smart at a cross-examination, but not by any means smart enough for the subject he had to deal with on this occasion. I had the most innocent air in the world about me, and pretended, half the time, that I was so stupid that I could not understand what his interrogatories meant, and, instead of answering them, would go off into a long story about my troubles, and the hardships I had suffered, and the bad treatment I had received. The colonel then tried to induce me to give him the despatch, saying that he would pay me the hundred dollars, and would forward it to General Washburn. This I refused to do, as I had promised not to let anybody but the general have it, if I could help it. Neither would I tell who it was that had intrusted me with the despatch, or give any clew to the message for the general he had intrusted me to deliver by word of mouth.

In fine, the colonel was practically no wiser when he had finished than when he commenced, and so, finding that no information worth talking about was to be obtained from me, he said, "Where will you go, if I give you a pass?" at the same time winking at the lieutenant.

"I want to go to Memphis, sir, to give this paper to General Washburn, and I hope that the general will be kind enough to send me on to Ohio."

"Have you any money?"

"Yes, sir; I have about one hundred and fifty dollars."

"Confederate money, isn't it?"

"No, sir; it's greenbacks. I wouldn't have that rebel trash; it isn't worth anything."

"Well, madam," then said the colonel, "you will remain here until the train is ready to start, and I will see, in the mean time, what I can do for you."

The colonel then went out; but the lieutenant remained, and engaged in a general sort of a conversation with me for some time. About noon, he suggested that perhaps I was hungry, and went and procured me something to eat. The train came in at one o'clock, and I proceeded to the depot under the escort of the two officers; the colonel, in response to my request that the soldiers should not annoy me as they had done in the morning, assuring me that he regretted anything of the kind had happened, and promising that he would see that I was protected from insult. Whether the presence of the colonel was the sole cause of the difference in their behavior or not, I cannot say, but the soldiers kept their distance as we were going to the depot, and only stared at me. When we reached the depot, the colonel procured me a ticket, and gave me five dollars, and I overheard him say, in an undertone, to the lieutenant, "You get in the rear car, and keep an eye on her movements. I think that she is all right, but it would be just as well to watch her."

The lieutenant said, "O, there's no doubt in my mind but she is all right."

This little conversation made me smile to myself, and served to convince me that I would have no trouble in getting along nicely with my friend the lieutenant.

The colonel moved off, and the lieutenant and I stepped aboard the train, a half dozen soldiers who were near making such comments as, "She's gone up." "I guess she'll hang." "Hanging's too good for a spy." I took no notice of them, however, but seated myself on the opposite side of the car from where they were standing. The lieutenant was overwhelmingly polite, and after having got me fixed comfortably in my seat, he said, in a low tone, "I may go up with you as far as my camp, if I can get any one to hold my horse."

I thought that this would be a good chance to improve my acquaintance with him, and perhaps do something for the furtherance of my plans; so I said, "O, I would be so glad if you would. I would so much like to have company." And I smiled on him as sweetly as I was able, to impress him with the idea that I profoundly appreciated his courtesy. The young fellow was evidently more than half convinced that he had made a conquest, while I was quite sure that I had. If he had known what my real feelings were, and with what entire willingness I would have made a prisoner of him, could I have got him into the Confederate lines, perhaps he would not have been quite so eager for my society.

When the lieutenant left, the soldiers began to crowd about the windows of the car, for the purpose of staring at me, and using towards me the same kind of abusive language as that which I have already quoted. I came to the conclusion that there must be rather lax discipline when a woman, situated as I was, who was especially under the protection of the officers of the command, and whom the colonel had given orders should not be insulted in any way, could be subjected to such continued ill usage as this. I was the more indignant, as there were several officers standing by, who took no notice of the behavior of the men, and made no effort whatever to prevent them from indulging in what, under any circumstances, was a mean and cowardly pastime. At length, provoked beyond measure, I called to an officer near, who wore a major's uniform, and said to him, "I would thank you, sir, to do something to stop the men from insulting me. I am travelling under a pass from the colonel, and he promised that I should not be annoyed in this manner."

The major very promptly came forward, and pushing some of the soldiers away from the windows, said, "Men, keep quiet, and do not insult this lady. She is on our side; she is Union." And then, turning to me, he remarked, "O, you mustn't mind them. You see, they have got it into their heads that you are a spy. They won't trouble you any more."

It struck me, as the major was making this little speech, that the soldiers were wiser than some of their officers, although I did not feel any more amiable towards them on that account. I, however, thanked the major for his promptness in coming to my protection, and we passed a few words, the idea entering my head that if I could fall into a conversation with him I might be able to beguile him into giving me some points of information worth having. Before, however, we had an opportunity to do more than exchange the ordinary civilities of the day, the train began to move, and I was unable to improve my acquaintance with him.


My Friend, the Lieutenant, concludes that he will make himself better acquainted with me. — Indiscreet Confidences. — Some of the Traits of human Nature. — The Kind of Secrets Women can keep. — Women better than Men for certain Kinds of Secret Service Duty. — The Lieutenant wants to know all about me. — I suspect that he has matrimonial Inclinations. — He is anxious to discover whether I have any wealthy Relations. — I am induced to think that I can make him useful in obtaining Information with Regard to the Federal Movements. — The Lieutenant expresses his Opinion about the War. — Arrival at Memphis. — Visit to the Provost Marshal's Office. — General Washburn too ill to see me. — I enclose him the bogus Despatch I have for him with an explanatory Note. — The Lieutenant escorts me to the Hardwick House, and I request him to call in the Morning. — Procuring a Change of Dress through One of the Servants, I slip out, and have in Interview with my Confederate, and give him the Despatch for General Forrest. — On returning to the Hotel, I meet the Lieutenant on the Street, but manage to pass him without being observed. — Satisfactory Accomplishment of my Errand.

I CONCLUDED that my friend, the lieutenant, had deserted me, for which I was inclined to be sorry; for he was apparently an agreeable enough young fellow, and I was rather anxious than otherwise to have his company as far as Memphis. If any doubts as to my being "all right," as the colonel had expressed it, still lingered in his mind, I thought that I would not only be able to remove them before our journey's end, but that I might be able so to insinuate myself into his confidence that I could learn something from him. I also wished him to go to Memphis with me, for I felt that if I put in an appearance there, under the escort of a Federal officer who would vouch for me, my status with the people at headquarters would be more satisfactory than if I went alone. In performing spy duty, there is nothing like having a friend at headquarters to introduce you, and to certify to your intentions being such as would meet with approbation.

As matters turned out, the lieutenant not only did accompany me, but he let out many things that he ought to have kept quiet about, knowing, as he did, the manner in which I had come into the lines, and having no assurance whatever beyond my bare word that I was not a spy. To be sure, the information I obtained from him with regard to the main object of my errand was not very momentous, for I was afraid to say too much on points relating to my errand; but I, without any difficulty, learned enough to enable me to know exactly how to go to work to find out a great deal more. Besides this, he was really of much assistance to me in other ways, and saved me considerable trouble at headquarters — for all of which I hope I was duly thankful.

About Keeping Secrets.

It may be thought that an officer of the experience of this one — he had been through the war from the beginning — would have understood his business sufficiently by this time to have known how to hold his tongue concerning matters that it was desirable the enemy should not become informed of, when in the society of a person whom he well knew might be a spy. If all the officers and men in an army, however, were endowed with, not wisdom only, but plain common sense, the business of the secret service agents would be a very much more difficult and hazardous one than it really is. The young fellow was only a lieutenant, with no great responsibilities, while some of my most brilliant successes in the way of obtaining information have been with generals, and even with their superiors, as the reader will discover, if he feels sufficient interest in my story to follow it to the end.

The fact is, that human nature is greatly given to confidence; so much so, that the most unconfiding and suspicious people are usually the easiest to extract any desired information from, provided you go the right way about it. This may seem to be a paradox; but it is not: it is merely a statement of a peculiar trait of human nature. Women have the reputation of being bad secret-keepers. Well, that depends on circumstances. I have always succeeded in keeping mine, when I have had any worth keeping; and I have always found it more difficult to beguile women than men into telling me what I have wanted to know, when they had the slightest reason to suspect that I was not a suitable recipient of their confidence. The truth seems to be, that while women find it often troublesome, and well nigh impossible, to keep little and in consequential secrets, they are first-rate hands at keeping great ones.

For certain kinds of secret service work women are, out of all comparison, superior to men. This, I believe, is acknowledged by all detectives and others who have been compelled to employ secret agents. One reason for this is, that women, when they undertake a secret service job, are really quicker witted and more wide awake than men; they more easily deceive other people, and are less easily imposed upon. Of course there is a great deal of secret service work for which women are not well fitted, and much that it is scarcely possible for them to perform at all; but, as a rule, for an enterprise that requires real finesse, a woman will be likely to accomplish far more than a man.

I was just thinking that my lieutenant had deserted me, or that he was in another car for the purpose of keeping an eye on me unobserved, when he appeared beside me, having jumped on the rear end of the car as it was starting.

He said, "You have no objections to my occupying the same seat with you, have you, madam?"

"O, no, sir!" I replied; "I shall be exceedingly glad to have the pleasure of your society, so far as you are going."

"Well, I only intend going up to my camp now, but I have half a mind to run on as far as Memphis — that is, if my company will not be disagreeable to you."

"I will be very greatly pleased if you will go through with me. It has been a long time since I have met any agreeable gentlemen, and I particularly admire officers."

As I said this I gave him a killing glance, and then dropped my eyes as if half ashamed of having made such a bold advance to him. The bait took, however, as I expected it would; and the lieutenant, giving his mustache a twist, and running his hand through his hair, settled himself down in the seat with a most self-satisfied air, evidently supposing that the conquest of my heart was more than half completed, and began to make himself as agreeable as he knew how. Finesse was certainly not this youth's most marked characteristic, and he went about making himself agreeable, and endeavoring to discover who I was, where I came from, and all about me, in such an awkward, lubberly manner, that it was mere play for me to impose upon him.

Matters Matrimonial And Otherwise.

He had not been seated more than a minute or two before he blurted out, "I guess you're married — ain't you?"

"No, sir; I'm a widow."

"Is that so? Well, now, about how long has the old man been dead?"

"My husband died shortly after the breaking out of the war. I have been a widow nearly three years."

"Well, that's a pretty good while to be a widow; but I reckon men are scarce down your way. Got any children?"

"No, sir; unfortunately I have no children."

"Well, that's lucky, anyhow."

I did not exactly understand whether he meant that it was lucky for me, or for him, in case he made up his mind to marry me. I, however, thought it a good occasion for a little sentiment, and so, giving a sigh, said, "Children are a great comfort, sometimes."

"Yes, I suppose so," said he; "especially when they are your own. I don't care much for other people's children, though."

"Are you married, sir?" I suggested, in a rather timid tone, and giving him another killing glance.

"Not much," he replied, with considerable force; "but I wouldn't mind being, if I could find a real nice woman who would have me." And with this he gave me a tender look that was very touching.

"O, there ought to be plenty of women who would gladly have a fine, handsome officer like you."

"Do you think so, now, really? Well, I'll have to look round. By the way, where do you come from? Do you belong down South?"

"No, sir," I replied; "I am a foreigner by birth, but my husband was an American, and lived in Ohio until shortly before the war."

"Is that so, now? You're English — ain't you?"

"No, sir; my parents were French and Spanish."

"I guess you must speak those languages, then?"

"Yes, sir; much better than English."

"Well,["]said he, "I'm mighty glad I met you."

"Thank you, sir. I may say the same to you."

He then remarked, "I don't believe you'll have any difficulty in getting through to Memphis, or any trouble after you reach there. I will be glad to assist you any way I can."

I thanked him for his kind intentions; and he then, in a hesitating sort of a way, said, "I hope you won't feel offended if I inquire how your finances are."

"O, no, sir; no offence at all. I am sorry to say that my funds are rather low."

"Well, I'll see you fixed all right until you can hear from your friends. How long do you expect to remain in Memphis?"

"No longer than I can possibly help; for I want to get back to Europe, where I have friends who will take care of me, at the earliest opportunity."

"I'm mighty sorry you are going to make such a short stay. I was hoping that we might become better acquainted. It isn't often that we meet with real ladies in these parts."

An Anxious Inquirer.

He then proceeded to inquire who my relatives in Europe were, where they lived, whether they were wealthy or not, — he seemed to be especially anxious on this point, — how old I was, whether I had ever thought much about getting married again, and so forth. I answered his queries as promptly as he could have wished, and perhaps more to his satisfaction than if I had told him the exact truth in every instance.

At length the whistle blew, and the train stopped at his camp. He jumped up, and rushed out, without even saying good-by; and while I was wondering where he had left his politeness, I saw him running as fast as he could go, and presently dodge into a tent. In a moment or two more out he came in his shirt sleeves, and ran for the train, with his coat in his hand, and jumped on board just as we were starting. I turned around, and watched him as he got into the car behind me, and saw him put on a rather better looking uniform coat than the out-at-the-elbows blouse he had been wearing, and a paper collar and black necktie. These last I considered as particularly delicate attentions to myself.

When he had completed his toilet, he came forward, and, seating himself beside me, said, "I will allow myself the pleasure of going through to Memphis with you."

I assured him that I was pleased beyond measure, and came to the conclusion that it would be my fault if long before we reached Memphis I did not stand so well in his good graces that I would be able to make a most useful ally of him in carrying out my plans for the benefit of the Confederacy.

"Do you see that field over there?" said he, pointing to a good sized clearing. "That's where our boys had a fight with Forrest."

"Did you run fast?" I asked, rather maliciously.

"We had to run," said he; "they were too many for us."

"O, what a pity," said I; "you ought to have whipped them;" and thought, at the same time, that there would be some more hard running done if I ever succeeded in getting to Forrest the despatch I had for him.

"We'll whip them yet," said the lieutenant. "We've had some big successes lately in Virginia, Missouri, and Arkansas, and we'd treat them worse than we do here if we only had a few more men."

"Why," said I, "there seems to be a great many of you."

Important Information.

"O, there's not half enough to do anything. They've got us scattered along this railroad in such a way that it's almost as much as we can do to hold our own, when any kind of a crowd of rebs puts in an appearance."

This was interesting; but I did not think it prudent just then to question him any closer on such a delicate subject, trusting that before we parted he would let out, of his own accord, some other facts worth knowing; so I merely said, "O, this war is a terrible thing. It makes me sick to think of so many being killed and wounded."

"That's so," he replied. "It is bad, but now we've begun it, I guess we'll have to fight it out."

"What do you think they will do with that miserable fellow, Davis, if they catch him?" said I.

"Well, I'm for hanging Jeff, and all his cabinet. We'll just string up the leaders, and let the little people go, if they will promise to behave themselves."

This made my blood boil; but I controlled my feelings, and remarked, "O, I don't believe they will hang him. They've got to catch him first, you know; and then the government at Washington is disposed to be lenient, isn't it?"

"Yes, that's just what's the matter. Between the milk-and-water policy of the government, and the speculators who have been allowed to do pretty much as they please, it has been hard work carrying on the war at all. We western men have done nearly all the hardest fighting, and we've got the least credit for it. So far as I am concerned, if I had known that it was the niggers we were going to fight for, I never would have raised my sword."

"O, you don't believe in slavery, do you?" said I, with the view of increasing his confidence in me.

"No," said he; "but the niggers are better off where they are, and are not worth fighting for, anyhow."

I tried to draw him out on this subject, but for some reason he did not seem inclined to talk about it any more; and he branched off into anecdotes of army life, the fights he had been engaged in, and a variety of matters that were entertaining enough, but do not merit being placed on record. This conversation amused me, and gave me a good number of points worth knowing in the particular business in which I was engaged, until at length the train reached Memphis, and my escort assisting me to alight, requested me to wait on the platform for him while he engaged a carriage.

In a few moments he returned with a close-bodied carriage, and when I was seated in it he ordered the driver to go to the Hardwick House.

"O, no," said I; "I must go to General Washburn's headquarters first, and deliver my despatch and message."

"Just as you like," said he; "but I thought that you might prefer to arrange your toilet before seeing the general."

"No," I replied; "I must see him immediately, as I was told that this was a matter of great importance. The general won't mind my looks."

A Queer Way Of Doing Business.

The driver was accordingly directed to take us to headquarters, and before many more minutes I was ushered into the presence of the provost marshal, to whom I stated my errand. The fact of the lieutenant being with me undoubtedly prevented a great many questions being asked, some of which it might not have been agreeable, or even possible, for me to answer, and I accordingly was more than ever impressed with the value of having him for an acquaintance, especially as he put in a word now and then which had the effect of establishing me on a satisfactory footing with the provost marshal. That official, when he had heard my story, said, "Madam, I am sorry, but the general is very much indisposed, and cannot see you. I will be glad to receive anything you may have for him, and to give him any message from you."

"O, sir, I must see him. It is impossible for me to communicate what I have to say to any one else."

"Did the person who confided the paper to you give you any private instructions?"

"Yes, sir, and he was very particular in telling me to communicate with the general in person, and with no one else."

"Well, madam, I am sorry for you; but, as I said before, the general is unable to see you, and you will either have to leave the paper and your message with me, or else call again."

This struck me as being a decidedly odd way of doing business. Here I was professing to be a despatch-bearer, with a confidential message from a spy within the enemy's lines, and the probabilities all in favor of my business being of extreme importance; and yet, the officer who assumed to represent the general placidly requesting me to call again, just as if I was some one who had stepped in to ask a favor of him. I concluded that if matters were managed in this kind of style at headquarters, Memphis would not be a very difficult place for me to operate in, or for the Confederates to operate against, if they thought it worth their while. I knit my brows, looked vexed and perplexed, tapped the ground with my foot, and pretended to be thinking deeply about what course I had better pursue. After a few moments' consideration, I concluded that the best thing I could do was to get the bogus despatch off my hands, and thus be free to attend to other business of more importance; so I said, "That is too bad, for I promised to see the general himself, as the man was so particular that I should; but if he won't see me, I suppose I will have to write to him."

The provost marshal accordingly furnished me with a sheet of paper, and I sat down at his desk and scribbled off a brief note to the general, telling him enough about the source from which I had obtained the despatch to induce him to believe in its genuineness, and intimated that if he wanted to know more he could send for me. This note and the despatch I enclosed in the same envelope, and handed it to the provost marshal, with a request that it might be given to the general immediately.

I fully expected that when General Washburn received these enclosures he would have me brought before him for the purpose of interrogation, and was much surprised when he did nothing of the kind.

The provost marshal took the envelope back into his private office, and on his return he asked me where I was going to stop. I replied that I did not know yet; whereupon he suggested that there was a nice private boarding-house near the Catholic church. I objected to going there, however, and said that I would prefer to locate myself at the Hardwick House for the present. To the hotel I accordingly went, under the escort of my friend, the lieutenant, and registered myself as Mrs. Fowler, not at all grieved at not having seen the general, and quite satisfied not to see him in the future if he did not wish to see me, for I considered the material part of my errand now practically accomplished.

The lieutenant, when he saw me fairly established in comfortable quarters, asked me to excuse him, saying that, as I seemed to be short of funds, he would see if he could not obtain some for me. I thanked him very much, made all manner of apologies for giving him so much trouble, and as a broad hint that I did not want to see any more of him that day, asked him to call in the morning, as I was feeling quite sick, was tired out with my journey, and would retire to rest after getting some supper. He was not a fool, and understood that I did not desire his company; so, taking his leave, he said that he would give orders for something to eat to be brought up to my room, and would come to see me again in the morning if I would permit him.

He had not been gone a great while before a servant appeared with a very nice supper. This I ate with immense relish, for I was desperately hungry, at the same time making certain inquiries of the servant for the purpose of enabling me to judge whether it would be safe or prudent to attempt to communicate that night with the spy for whom I had the despatch which was to be forwarded to Forrest. It was now nearly dark, and I decided that no better time for meeting the spy could be found. I accordingly asked the servant to try and borrow for me some rather more presentable articles of attire than those I had on, as I desired to go out for the purpose of making a few purchases, and was really ashamed to go into the streets dressed as I was. My real reason was that I was afraid the lieutenant, or the provost marshal, or some one who had seen me, should happen to meet me while I was out, and as, dressed in the rather outlandish fashion in which I had appeared at the picket station, they would not fail to recognize me, suspicions might be excited which would result in spoiling all my plans.

The servant, whose zeal in my behalf was stimulated by a five-dollar greenback, was not long in appearing with a reasonably decent-looking dress, bonnet, and shawl. I then attired myself with as much speed as I could command, and after having the dust and dirt brushed off my shoes, was ready to start.

A Conference With The Spy.

It is scarcely necessary to say that I was well acquainted with Memphis, and consequently knew exactly how to go and where to go in search of my man. Fortunately for me, the place was not a very great way from the hotel, and persuading the accommodating servant to show me out the back door, under the plea that, meanly attired as I was, I was ashamed to be seen by the officers who were standing about the front of the building, I was not long in reaching it.

I knocked at the door, and the very man I was looking for came to let me in. I had never seen him before, but I knew him immediately by the description I had of him. Giving him the password I was admitted, and he eagerly inquired what I had for him. I handed him the despatch which he was to convey to Forrest, and gave him the verbal instructions which Lieutenant Shorter had ordered me to convey to him, and urged the necessity for his making haste in reaching Forrest at the earliest practicable moment. He, however, said that he thought that a movement of the Federal troops was in contemplation, and that he would like to find out exactly what it was before starting, and as I seemed to be on good terms at headquarters, he urged that I should endeavor to obtain the information for him. I consented to try what I could do, while he promised not to delay his departure longer than two days, at the farthest.

Before parting, I represented the danger to both if we should be seen in conference, and said that I would prefer not meeting him again if some means of communicating with him without a personal interview could be devised. He, therefore, suggested that if I obtained the desired information I should write him a note and deposit it in a certain place which he designated. I consented to this and took my departure, wishing him good luck. On my way back to the hotel, the prudence of my change of dress was sufficiently demonstrated, for on turning a corner I nearly ran against my friend the lieutenant and another officer, who were walking slowly along the street. My heart leaped into my mouth when I saw who it was, but as there was no retreat, I trusted to the darkness and my change of costume, and glided by them as swiftly and quietly as I could, and fortunately was able to gain my room without discovery.

My errand was now accomplished, and in as satisfactory a manner as could be desired, and the only apprehension I had was lest the spy to whom I had given the despatch for Forrest might not succeed in getting off in safety. If he should be arrested and the document found on him, the finger of suspicion would not unlikely point to me as the original bearer of it. I thought, however, that he was probably well able to take care of himself, and being too much of a veteran to allow myself to be worried about possibilities that might never come to pass, I went to bed feeling that the responsibility of the business was well off my shoulders, and was soon in happy obliviousness of cares of every kind.


A Friend in Need is a Friend indeed. — The Lieutenant aids me in procuring a new Wardrobe. — I succeed in finding out all I want to know about the Number and the Disposition of the Federal Troops on the Line of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. — A Movement made in Accordance with the bogus Despatch which I had brought to General Washburn. — Forrest makes his Raid, and I pretend to be alarmed lest the Rebels should capture me. — The Lieutenant continues his Attentions, and something occurs to induce me to change my Plans. — I have an Interview with an Officer of my Brother's Command, and learn that he is a Prisoner. — I resolve to go to him, and leave for the North on a Pass furnished by General Washburn. — At Louisville I have an Interview with a mysterious secret Agent of the Confederacy, who supplies me with Funds. — On reaching Columbus, Ohio, I obtain a Permit to see my Brother. — Through the Agency of Governor Brough my Brother is released, and we go East together, — he to New York, I to Washington.

THE next morning the lieutenant made his appearance bright and early, and said that he had raised a hundred dollars for me, by representing me as a Union woman who was flying from persecution in the Confederacy, and who had brought important information into the lines. This money I regarded as lawful spoils of war, and therefore had no hesitation in accepting it. Expressing my gratitude to my friend for his zeal in my behalf, I said that he would place me under still further obligations if he would aid me in obtaining some better clothing than that I had on. He expressed the greatest desire to oblige me, and taking half of the money, he invested a good portion of it in a stylish bonnet, a handsome piece of dress goods, and a pair of shoes. He also presented me with a number of little articles, which I was given to understand were meant for testimonials of his individual regard. During the day I was called upon by several officers and others, and one lady — an officer's wife — loaned me a dress to wear until mine should be finished. Taking my piece of goods to the dressmaker's, I stated that I was in a great hurry, and she accordingly promised to have it finished by the next evening. Thus I was in a short time fitted out in good style, and was able to figure to as great an extent as I desired in such society as Memphis afforded just at that time.

My new friends were extremely anxious to know exactly what was going on within the rebel lines, and asked me all sorts of questions. I endeavored to gratify their curiosity as well as I could without committing myself too much, and in return made an effort to find out what I was so desirous of knowing about the contemplated movement of the Federal troops.

I did not have a great deal of trouble in learning very nearly everything that was to be learned about the number and disposition of the troops along the line of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, and also that the force at Colliersville was being materially strengthened in apprehension of an attack in that quarter. This information I promptly communicated to my confidant, who started for Forrest's headquarters without more delay. The concentration of the Federal force at Colliersville, I had every reason to believe, was induced by the despatch I delivered to General Washburn. At any rate, it had the effect of leaving a gap in the Federal line beyond Grand Junction for Forrest to step through; and, when in a day or two, intelligence was received that he was on a grand raid through Western Tennessee, I knew that the plot in which I had been engaged had succeeded in the best manner.

Forrest's Raid.

I made a great to-do when the news of Forrest's raid was received, and pretended to be frightened lest an attack should be made on Memphis, and the rebels should capture me. The fact is, that Forrest, before he got through, did come very near the city, and some of my new acquaintances were just as much frightened in reality as I pretended to be. He, however, did not make any demonstration in the city, but after a brilliant campaign of several weeks slipped by the Federals again, carrying back with him into Mississippi sufficient cattle and other booty to amply repay him for his trouble.

I thought that I had reason to congratulate myself upon the success of the enterprise in which I had been engaged. Taking it altogether, it was as well planned and as well executed a performance as any I ever attempted during the whole of my career in the Confederate service.

My friend, the lieutenant, whose regard for me really increased with each succeeding interview, was obliged to return to his camp, after having assisted me in obtaining a new outfit. In a day or two, however, he returned, having obtained a ten days' leave of absence, and he began to increase the zealousness of his attentions. On his return to Memphis he brought with him a fine horse, which he claimed to have captured, and said that it should be reserved for my use, if I would accept of it, so long as I remained in the city. I was not at all averse to having a good time, although I was beginning to wonder how I was ever to get back to my starting-place again, and I rode out a number of times with the lieutenant, and accepted his escort on all occasions that he offered it.

A Change Of Plans.

It was while attending church on the Sunday following the arrival, on leave, of this rather over-attentive young gentleman, that something occurred which caused a very material alteration in my plans, which induced me to abandon my design to return to Mobile, and which resulted in my entering upon an entirely new field of operations. I, of course, at the time, had no idea whatever how things were going to turn out, but if all had been arranged beforehand they could not have turned out more in accordance with my desires.

During the service I noticed in the congregation a Confederate officer in citizen's clothes, whom I knew by sight, and who belonged to my brother's command. He did not know me, especially as a woman, although he had seen me a number of times attired in the uniform of a Confederate officer. I was most desirous of communicating with him, for the purpose of inquiring about my brother, of whom I had received no intelligence whatever for a number of months; so, after the service was over, I watched him as he left the church, and seeing him turn the corner, said to the lieutenant, "Let us take a walk down this street." Keeping him in sight, I saw him turn down towards the Hardwick House, and consequently suggested to the lieutenant that it would perhaps be as well to return to the hotel instead of indulging in a promenade. My escort thought that I was disposed to be whimsical; but I did not bother myself very greatly about his opinion of me one way or the other, being now only intent upon devising some means of obtaining an interview with the disguised Confederate.

On reaching the hotel I found that the man I was after had disappeared, and I was considerably perplexed to know what course to pursue. I was afraid to send him my card, for fear of compromising him in some way, as I thought it highly probable that he was stopping at the hotel under an assumed name. I was bent on securing an opportunity to converse with him, however, and hoped to be able to meet him, and to attract his attention before evening, but failing in this, I was resolved to find out what I could about him from some of the servants, and to send him a note requesting a private interview, giving him a sufficient hint as to who I was to induce him to think that he would be in no danger. Fortunately, however, I was not compelled to resort to any such expedient as this, for, on going in to dinner at five o'clock with the lieutenant, I saw him at one of the tables, having apparently just sat down.

A Strictly Private Communication.

The lieutenant was conducting me to the seat which we usually occupied, but I said, as if seized with a sudden freak for a change of locality, "Suppose we go over to this table to-day. I think we will find it pleasanter;" and, before my Federal friend had time to object, I had walked him across the room and seated myself beside the Confederate, indicating for the lieutenant to take the seat on the other side of me. When the waiter came up to get our orders for dinner, I asked him to bring me a couple of cards.

All this time I took not the slightest notice of the Confederate, but chatted with the lieutenant in the liveliest and most animated manner possible; my object being to so engage his attention that he would not think of observing what I was doing for the purpose of letting the gentleman on the other side of me know that I was interested in him.

On one of the cards I wrote some nonsense, which I sent by the waiter, after having shown it to the lieutenant, to another officer whom I saw on the opposite side of the room. On the other one I wrote, "Meet me at my room, at half past ten o'clock this evening, unobserved. Important." This I made a pretence of slipping in my pocket, but dropped it on the floor instead, touching the Confederate officer as I did so, and half turning towards him in such a manner that he could readily understand that I was endeavoring to attract his attention. While this was going on, the lieutenant was watching to see what would be the effect of the jesting remark I had written on the first card on the gentleman across the room to whom I had sent it. He laughed and nodded, and the lieutenant and I did the same, — all of us, apparently, being satisfied that there was a capital joke in progress; which indeed there was, but not exactly the kind of one they imagined.

The Confederate officer, when he looked down and saw the card on the floor, quickly dropped his napkin on it, and stooped to pick it up. He found an opportunity to read my message before he left the table, but I took no further notice of him whatever, until just as he was about to retire, when I turned slightly, and looking him full in the face, gave him a meaning glance, so that he could understand that there was no mistake about the matter.

At the hour named on the card the Confederate officer came to my room, evidently very much perplexed, and uncertain what the end of the adventure would be. I hastened to apologize for the liberty I had taken, and to place him at his ease by explaining matters.

I said, "You will pardon me, sir; but this is Lieutenant B., of Arkansas, is it not?"

"Yes, madam, that is my name," he replied.

"You need be under no apprehension, sir. I know you, although you do not know me. I am the sister of Captain — , I am exceedingly anxious to learn where he is and how he is, for I have not been able to hear from him for a very long time."

News From My Brother.

The announcement that I was the sister of Captain — ,was evidently an immense relief to Lieutenant B., whose face brightened up immediately. He stated that he was very much pleased to meet me, but that he was sorry to have to tell me that my brother had been captured by the Federals about four months before, and was now a prisoner at Camp Chase.

This was unpleasant news, and it determined me to give up the idea of returning to Mobile, but to go North and visit my brother, for the purpose of assisting him in any way possible. From what I had learned during my late stay in Memphis, too, I was very well convinced that, as a secret service agent, I would be able to operate with far more effect at the North than I would if I remained in this region of country; which was an additional inducement for me to travel northward, rather than to essay the hazardous experiment of regaining the Confederate lines without having some definite object in view.

I had quite a lengthy conversation with Lieutenant B. about my brother, and about affairs generally; and having announced to him my intention of visiting the North, and perhaps of acting as a secret service agent if I saw opportunities for doing anything for the advancement of the Confederate cause, I obtained from him quite a number of hints about the best methods of proceeding, and he gave me the names of persons in different places who were friends of the Confederacy, and with whom I could communicate. He also advised me to talk with certain parties, whom he named, in Memphis, who could advise me, and give me much valuable information.

The next day I conferred with some of the persons whom he had mentioned, and having become thoroughly posted, I began to prepare for my departure. My friend, the Federal lieutenant, whose attentions had been getting more and more ardent every day, was, or pretended to be, very much cut up when he heard that I intended to leave. I promised, however to write to him so soon as I arrived in New York, — having given him to understand that that city was my immediate destination, — and intimated that I might possibly correspond regularly. He, in return for the very slight encouragement which I gave to his hopes that we might meet again when the fighting was all over, procured for me a pass and transportation from General Washburn, and off I started, leaving Memphis, where I was liable at any time to be recognized, and consequently get into trouble, with but little regret. As for the lieutenant, I certainly appreciated his attentions to me, but I thought that any heart pangs he might feel at parting would scarcely be so severe that he would not be able to recover from them in course of time.

My first object was to see my brother, to give him such assistance as I was able, and to discover whether I could not do something towards having him released. I had not seen him for a number of years, and, as the reader will remember, had only learned of his being in the Confederate army some little time before my second marriage. He was the only relative I had in the country, and I felt very anxious about him, fearing greatly that he might be sick, or suffering for some of the necessities of life. I therefore pushed forward as rapidly as I could, and made no stoppage of any moment until I reached Louisville, Kentucky, where I took a room at the Galt House, and communicated with a Mr. B., a gentleman whose name had been given me as one in whom I could confide, and to whom I could appeal in case I was in need of assistance.

A Mysterious Friend of the Confederacy.

I told Mr. B. who I was, and what was my errand, and informing him that I was short of funds, asked whether he could not do something for me. He said he would make an effort in my behalf, and accordingly a gentleman, who declined to tell me his name, but who said that he was a Confederate, called that evening to see me at my room. He was greatly afraid of being seen with me; and before he would leave, after we had finished our conversation, I had to go out into the hall, and down as far as the stairway, to see that all was quiet, and no one looking, before he would venture out.

We had a long talk about, not only my immediate errand in behalf of my brother, but about the political and military situation generally. As Mr. B. had told me that I could trust him implicitly, I had no hesitation in informing him, that after having seen my brother, and made an effort to procure his release, my intention was to operate as a secret service agent, as I had had considerable experience in that line of duty. I did not think it necessary or proper to entertain him with a recital of the enterprises in which I had been engaged, but told him just enough about myself to let him understand that my pretensions were genuine, and that I really meant business. He, for his part, posted me very thoroughly about the best method of going to work, not only for procuring the release of my brother, but for picking up information of value to the Confederate authorities, and gave me the names of a number of persons in New York and Washington, as well as in the West, with whom it would be well for me to become acquainted as early as possible. He also gave me hints of various enterprises, of more or less consequence, that were on foot, and assured me that I could be of the greatest service to the cause if I would co-operate with the Confederate agents at the North.

Before taking his leave, he suggested that I should retire early, and be ready to go by the first train in the morning, and said that he would see that I was provided with funds. The name of this gentleman I could never discover, although I had considerable curiosity on the subject. He was very much of an enthusiast on the subject of the Confederacy, and was evidently an efficient secret worker for the cause; but he was either excessively timid, or else he believed that he could do more to advance the interest of the cause by being, as far as practicable, unknown even to those with whom he cooperated.

Early the next morning I was awakened by a knock on my door, and some one outside asked if I was going on the early train. I replied that I was, and hastened to dress myself for the journey. As I was dressing, I was somewhat startled to see a large envelope on the floor, which must either have been pushed under the door or thrown in over the transom during the night. On opening the envelope I found in it five hundred dollars in greenbacks, and letters to a couple of persons in Columbus, Ohio. This money was very acceptable, for I had very little cash with me, and it enabled me to resume my travels with a mind comparately free from care.

Before leaving Louisville, however, I managed to get rid of some of my cash, for, as I was about starting for the train, I met a Confederate army friend, Lieutenant H., with whom I had a hurried conversation. He informed me that he was an escaped prisoner, and was endeavoring to make his way South, hoping to be able to get within the Confederate lines before being discovered. I gave him some advice about the best method of proceeding; and as I knew that he was short of funds, or most likely would be before he got among his friends again, I pressed fifteen dollars upon him, for which he was overwhelmingly grateful.

I got off on the early train, in accordance with the understanding with my unknown friend of the evening before, and in due time arrived at Columbus, Ohio, and took a room at the Neil House. Here I felt tolerably secure, as no one knew me, and I was sufficiently far away from the seat of war to come and go as I chose without rendering myself liable to suspicion.

I concluded, before delivering the letters I had received in Louisville, that I would try and see what my own unaided efforts would do for my brother. I therefore, the next day, called upon the general in command, — I have forgotten his name, — and introducing myself, said, that if it was allowable, I would like very much to visit that rebel brother of mine.

The general asked me if I had a brother in the prison; and I told him that such was unfortunately the case, but that, notwithstanding he was on the wrong side, I could not help having an affection for him, and was desirous of assisting him in case he should be in need.

The general asked me a number of questions about myself and my brother, in answer to which I gave him to understand that I was from New York, was a strong Unionist, and had only recently heard that my brother was a prisoner, although I was aware that he had entered the rebel army shortly after the breaking out of the war. Having satisfied himself that I was all right, the general, without hesitation, gave me the desired permit, and, with a profusion of thanks, I bowed myself out of his presence.

On reaching the Todd Barracks, where the prisoners were confined, I found a one-armed major in command. He was very polite indeed, and entered into quite a conversation with me, during which he told me that he had lost his arm in the Mexican war. When my brother came, the major gave us his own private room, so that we might talk together without fear of interruption.

Meeting With My Brother.

My meeting with my brother was a most affectionate one. It had been a very long time since we had seen each other, and there was much that each of us had to say. I disclosed to him part of my plans, and instructed him how to talk and act towards me. He was to call me his Union sister, and was to speak of me as a New Yorker. I expressed considerable hope that I would be able to effect his release, and stated that I would go on to Washington for the purpose, if necessary, and see the president and secretary of war.

This proceeding, however, I found to be unnecessary, for Governor Brough, of Ohio, a hearty, pleasant-spoken, and good-natured old gentleman, happened to be stopping at the same hotel with me, and I contrived to obtain an introduction to him. I cultivated the acquaintance of the governor with considerable assiduity, and he took quite a fancy to me, so much so, that he promised to use his influence to obtain a parole for my brother. This promise the governor kept, and in a short time the prisoner was released and ordered to proceed East, and to report first to General Cadwalader, at Philadelphia, and then to General Dix, at New York, the idea being that he was to remain with me in the last-named city.

In company with my brother, therefore, I proceeded East, and went to New York, where I left him, while I went on to Washington, for the purpose of seeing what could be done in the way of aiding the Confederate cause by a series of operations at the Federal capital.


New Scenes and new Associations. — My first Visit to the North. — The Wealth and Prosperity of the North contrasted with the Poverty and Desolation of the South. — Much of the northern Prosperity fictitious. — The anti-war Party and its Strength. — How some of the People of the North made Money during the War. — "Loyal" Blockade-runners and Smugglers. — Confederate Spies and Emissaries in the government Offices. — The Opposition to the Draft. — The bounty-jumping Frauds. — My Connection with them. — Operations of the Confederate Secret Service Agents. — Other Ways of fighting the Enemy than by Battles in the Field. — I arrange a Plan of Operations, and place myself in communication with the Confederate Authorities at Richmond, and also with Federal Officials at Washington and elsewhere. — I abandon Fighting for Strategy.

I WAS now introduced to entirely new scenes, new associations, and a new sphere of activity. I had never before been farther north than Washington, and my visit to the Federal capital was the hasty and secret one made shortly after the battle of Ball's Bluff, the particulars of which are recorded in a previous chapter. It was almost like going into another world to pass from the war-worn Confederacy to the rich and prosperous states which adhered to the Federal government; and, when I saw the evidences of apparently inexhaustible wealth around me, and contrasted them in my mind with what I was leaving behind in the yet unconquered Confederacy, I confess that my heart began to fail, and I despaired of the cause more than I had ever done before.

In a great portion of the South the towns and villages were few and far between, the forests large and dense, the population thin and scattering, while the most imposing of the Southern cities were far less splendid than New York and Philadelphia, and such prosperity as they had at one time enjoyed was now all but destroyed, through the rigidness of the Federal blockade. Back of the Northern cities, too, was a rich, highly cultivated, and thickly populated country, with numerous large towns, abounding in wealth, and with apparently as many men at home, attending to the ordinary duties of life, as if there was no war going on, and no huge armies in the field.

Not only was there no blockade to put an end to commerce, and to cause a deprivation of many of the necessaries of life, but commerce, as well as all manner of home industries, had been greatly stimulated; so that the war — while it was starving the South, and forcing the male population into the field, until there were scarcely left enough to carry on absolutely needful trade and tillage — actually appeared to be making the North rich, and thousands of people were literally coining money with government contracts, and by means of innumerable industries brought into being by the great conflict.

The Strength Of The Federals.

The subjugation of the South was therefore simply a question of time, if matters continued as they were, and the Federals would achieve the ends they had in view by sheer force of numbers and practically inexhaustible resources, no matter how valiantly the Confederate soldiers might fight, or how skilfully they might be led. Was this subjugation of the South inevitable, however? This was the question that addressed itself to my mind, and upon the determination of which the course it would be best for me to pursue in the future would have to depend.

I was not very long in coming to the conclusion that a triumph of the Confederate cause was not by any means an impossibility, provided the right means were used to bring it about. I also speedily satisfied myself that the interests of the cause could be advanced just as much by diligent and zealous workers at the North, as by the men who were fighting the battles of the Confederacy in Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas; and I was so well convinced that at last I had found the best field for the exercise of my own peculiar talents, that I greatly regretted not having made my way into the midst of the enemy's country long before.

For very nearly a year now I had done very little that was at all satisfactory to myself, or at all really helpful — that is, helpful in a large and positive way — to the Confederate cause; whereas, all this time I might have been carrying on a series of important operations at the North. It looked, indeed, like a great waste of time; but, if it was wasted, I resolved to do my best to redeem it, by the activity of my performances in the future; and I had great reason to hope that these performances would be productive of not unimportant results.

It required but a slight acquaintance with the condition of affairs to discover that the surface indications of wealth, prosperity, and overpowering strength at the North were delusive. The North certainly was wealthy and powerful; but, unfortunately for the Federal government's efforts to conquer the South, and to put a speedy end to the war, the people were very far from being united.

United Public Sentiment at the South.

At the South there were few, if any, genuine adherents of the Federal government, and public opinion was united on the subject of achieving independence. At the period of which I am writing — the winter of 1863-64 — there may have been, and doubtless were, many persons who were heartily tired of the war, and who would have been glad of peace on almost any terms. The vast majority, however, were still in favor of fighting the thing out, in spite of poverty, and in spite of the privations of every kind which they were compelled to suffer.

At the North, on the other hand, the majority of the people had entered upon the war with reluctance; many who did go into it with considerable enthusiasm, with the idea of preserving the Union, were disgusted when it became day by day more apparent that the emancipation of the slaves was a part of the policy of the government; many who went into it for the sake of seeing some fighting were heartily tired, and wanted to stop; and many more, who were eager enough to begin a fight, simply out of animosity to the Southerners, sickened of the thing when their pockets were touched by the enormous advance in prices, and by the heavy taxes which the prolongation of the contest necessitated, and were quite willing for peace at almost any price.

In addition to these elements of discord, there was a large, influential, powerful, and wealthy anti-war party, composed of people who were, and always had been, opposed to the war, and who numbered among them many who were not only opposed to the war, but who were warm and earnest friends of the South. These latter believed that the government had no right to coerce States which desired to leave the Union to remain in it, and they were bitterly antagonistic to any and all attempts to subjugate the South, and did everything in their power to baffle the efforts of the government to carry on the war efficiently. These people constantly aided, with their money and their influence, the Confederate agents who were working and scheming for the advancement of their cause at the North, and did a great deal to embarrass the Federal government.

Besides these, there were a great number of weak-kneed, or indifferent people, who had no opinions of their own worth speaking of, and whose chief anxiety was to be on the winning side. These were for the war or against it, as the tide of battle turned in favor of the Federals or the Confederates. The news of a tremendous defeat inflicted on the Confederates, or of the capture of an important position, would excite their enthusiasm, and make them talk loudly of fighting the thing out until the rebels were whipped; while a season of prolonged inactivity, or a succession of Confederate victories, caused them to look gloomily on the situation, and to suggest that there had been about enough fighting, that it was about time prices were coming down a little, and that as the war had been going on so long, without any practical results, there was not much use in killing more men and spending more money, when there was no more chance this year than there was last of a speedy end to the contest. In this class the Confederates found many allies.

The Presidential Campaign.

At the time of my arrival at the North the anti-war party was concentrating its strength for the approaching presidential campaign, and many men who were prominent in it were decidedly confident that the next election would place a president in the White House, whose views about the proper policy to be pursued towards the South would be radically different from those of Mr. Lincoln. If an anti-war president could be elected, — and there were many reasons to believe that such a thing would be possible, — a speedy wind-up of the war, on terms satisfactory to the Confederates, would almost certainly follow his inauguration.

This being the situation, it was as much for the interest of the Richmond government that the political dissensions existing within the Federal lines should be kept alive, and the success of the anti-war party promoted by every possible means, as it was to win victories on the battle-field. Indeed, it was much more important; for victories cost men and treasure, which the Confederacy could not well spare, and even more was to be gained by fighting the enemy on his own ground with the ballot, than there was by shooting him on Confederate soil with the bullet.

It was an important part of the duty of the Confederate agents at the North to aid, by every possible means, the success of the anti-war party, and to this end they labored incessantly and effectively in various ways; but, outside of the field of politics, there was an immense amount of highly important work being done, the like of which my brief experiences in New Orleans had barely given me a hint of.

Confederate Spies And Agents In Government Employ.

Many officials in the government employ were either secret service agents of the Confederacy, or were in the pay of such. There was not a public building at Washington that did not contain a person or persons who was not only willing, but eager to do much more than furnish information to the commanders of the Confederate armies and to the Richmond authorities, as far as it was possible to do so without placing themselves in peril. In all of the large cities were men and women, many of them in government employ, who were in constant communication with the Confederate agents, and in all of them were merchants who were rapidly growing wealthy by sending goods of all kinds, including arms and ammunition, to the South, either by having them smuggled through the lines, or by shipping them to some neutral port for the purpose of having them transferred to blockade-runners.

Some of these merchants made no pretensions, but sold to whoever would buy, having the avowed intention of making all the money they could by every safe means. They simply asked no questions, but took their cash, and shipped according to order. Others were blockade-runners, pure and simple, and their only anxiety was to keep their operations concealed from the government detectives.

Millions of dollars' worth of goods, however, were sold for the Southern market by men who were loud in their protestations of loyalty to the Federal government, who bitterly denounced the South, in public and in private, who contributed largely to aid in carrying on the war, and who enjoyed, in the fullest manner, the confidence of the government, and of those of their fellow-citizens who honestly believed that the war was a just one.

I will not say that all of these men were hypocrites and traitors, for I am confident that very many of them were not. Some, however, — and those not the least influential and wealthy, — had different opinions about things in general, and the war, in particular, in public and in the social circles which they frequented, and in their counting-rooms, when certain people called on them for the purpose of buying goods. They were more than anxious to sell to any one who would buy, but in case the buyer was known to be, or was suspected of being, a Confederate agent, the question of the moment was, to sell without being found out. Of course, some of them were detected occasionally, but there was generally a way to be found for dealing with these gentlemen with tender consciences and highly loyal reputations, by which their goods could be purchased for cash, and their reputations spared, at the same time.

The Conscription.

Another element in the situation was, the intense opposition to the conscription which was going on for the purpose of recruiting the armies — the supply of volunteers having long since failed. This opposition, before my arrival at the North, had culminated in bloody riots in New York and several other places, which caused the greatest alarm, because they indicated, in a very positive manner, that there was a very large disaffected class in the population, which, if excited to take up arms, might be able to start a new and formidable rebellion within the Federal lines. Many of those, too, who professed to favor the war were opposed to the conscription; that is, they were opposed to being conscripted themselves, although they were willing enough that other people should go and do their fighting for them.

The most obnoxious feature of the draft, however, had been in a measure overcome by the different states, cities, and towns offering liberal bounties for men to enlist. In this manner most of the quotas were filled, but the payment of bounties — a demoralizing proceeding, under any circumstances — opened the way for the most shameless and gigantic frauds. The story of the bounty jumping during the last two years of the war, is not one that any patriotic American citizen can read with complacency or satisfaction, and for pure infamy I think that it surpasses anything that the future historian of the war will be compelled to put on record.

Bounty Jumping And Other Frauds.

I had a good deal to do with these bounty-jumping frauds, and with a number of other matters very nearly as bad, — or, perhaps, in the opinion of the reader, worse, — and it may be thought that I was as culpable as those whom I now denounce. To those who are only willing to consider such a subject as this from one point of view, I have simply nothing to say; but fair-minded persons, North and South, will, however, freely admit that my actions as a secret agent of the Confederate government are not to be put in comparison with those of the dealers in human flesh and blood, the counterfeiters, and others who did what they did solely from motives of gain. At any rate, acting as I was under orders from the only government the authority of which I acknowledged, and animated only by an ardent desire to advance the interests of the cause which I had espoused, I felt that I was justified in embarrassing the enemy by any means in my power, and that the kind of warfare which I carried on in the rear of the Federal armies was just as legitimate as that which was carried on face to face with them in the field.

It was not pleasant for me to be brought into the relations I was with some of the most consummate scoundrels who ever escaped the gallows or the penitentiary, and it is impossible for me to reflect upon some of the features of my career as a Confederate secret service agent at the North with anything but regret that I should have been forced by circumstances to do what I did, or to associate with the men I did. There is nothing, however, in this portion of my career that I am ashamed of; and I have no hesitation whatever in giving to the world a plain, unadorned statement of the enterprises in which I was engaged during the last eighteen months of the war. So far as my own performances are concerned, this narrative shall be as full and as complete as I can make it; and if I fail to go into exact and minute details about certain important transactions, it will be simply because I feel that I am under obligations not to betray my confederates, no matter how unworthy they may have been. To some of these people I am under no obligations whatever, and shall consequently not hesitate to speak plainly concerning them; but with regard to others, I prefer to err on the honorable side by saying too little, rather than to rest under the imputation of betraying confidences.

Arranging A Plan Of Operations.

It took me some little time, of course, to master the entire situation; but a very brief residence at the North enabled me to see that there was a vast amount of most important and valuable work to be done within the Federal lines, and that it was exactly the kind of work that I could do with the very best effect. I arranged my plans, therefore, for a series of operations in behalf of the Confederate cause, and, at the earliest practicable moment, placed myself in communication with the Richmond authorities, and with the various secret service agents in the Northern States and in Canada, and also with Federal officials of various kinds, with whom I desired to establish confidential relations, not only for the purpose of preventing their suspecting me, but to gain through them information otherwise unobtainable.

Having once established myself on a satisfactory footing with those who were managing matters at the rival capitals, it became a comparatively easy matter to go ahead with some degree of boldness, and to follow up a systematic scheme of action; and I flatter myself that, having once gotten fairly started, I performed the tasks I undertook with a praise-worthy degree of thoroughness, and with not altogether unimportant results.

The story of this portion of my career will differ materially from that which has preceded it. I have now to tell, not of battles and sieges, but of stratagems and wiles; and, as the results of warfare are determined even more by strategy than by actual hard fighting, I believe that the reader will find the ensuing pages equally entertaining with those which have preceded them, and probably more so.


Studying the Situation. — I renew my Acquaintance with old Friends of the Federal Army. — Half-formed Plans. — I obtain an Introduction to Colonel Lafayette C. Baker, Chief of the United States Secret Service Corps. — Colonel Baker and General Winder of the Confederate Secret Service compared. — Baker a good Detective Officer, but far inferior to Winder as the Head of a Secret Service Department. — I solicit Employment from Baker as a Detective, and am indorsed by my Friend General A. — Baker gives a rather indefinite Answer to my Application. — I go to New York, and fall in with Confederate Secret Service Agents, who employ me to assist them in various Schemes. — Learning the Ropes. — I send Intelligence of my Movements to Richmond, and am enrolled as a Confederate Agent. — I have several Interviews with Baker, and succeed in gaining his Confidence. — Baker's Surprise and Disgust at various Times at his Plans leaking out. — The Secret of the Leakage revealed.

ON going to Washington I had no very definite idea of what I would do, or, indeed, what I could do. I was now about to work under different auspices from any under which I had hitherto been placed, and it was necessary for me to look around a bit and study the situation. In a general sort of way I hoped to get access to the different departments, so that I would be able to find out what was going on, and to place myself in communication with persons who would be able to give me such information as I desired. It was also important that I should make the acquaintance of, and be on friendly terms with, officers of the army and others who would have the power to help me in case I wanted to run through the lines, or in event of my getting into any trouble through meddling with affairs that the government might not desire an irresponsible outsider like myself to know too much about.

The visit I had paid to the prison where my brother was confined, made me think deeply about the privations and sufferings endured by the brave Southern boys captured on a hundred battle-fields, and now in the hands of the Federal authorities. The more I thought of them the more I was moved by an intense desire to do something to secure their release; and more than one crude suggestion of a plan for the accomplishment of so desirable an end floated through my mind, without, however, my being able to decide upon any definite method of procedure.

I hoped, on going to Washington, to find there some one with whom I was acquainted, and through whom I might fall in with those who could aid me in the execution of my designs. On my arrival in the Federal capital, therefore, I made inquiries concerning the prominent officers of the army there, thinking that, most probably, I would be able to meet some of my military friends of the good old days before the war, and I was not long in learning that General A. and Captain B. were both on duty in or near Washington.

Unconscious Confederates.

I will remark here, that I designate these gentlemen by the two first letters of the alphabet, because I desire to avoid giving any clew to their real names. They were both men of unimpeachable honor, and, had they suspected in the least what my designs really were, I believe that they would immediately have procured my arrest, in spite of any private friendship they might have had for me. I made use of them for the furtherance of my plans in the interest of the Confederacy, but they neither of them, on any occasion, wittingly gave me any information that they should not have given. On the contrary, they declined to be of any assistance to me in visiting the departments or in going to the front, on the plea that the stringent rules in force would not permit them to do so. I obtained points from them occasionally in conversation, for it is impossible for any one, not even a detective or a spy, to be as close-mouthed on all occasions as is desirable; but the chief aid which they extended was in introducing me to people whom I could use, and in maintaining intimate and friendly personal relations with me, by which I was enabled to gain a standing in certain quarters without trouble.

The general, when I introduced myself to him, appeared to be very glad to see me, and asked me innumerable questions about myself, my friends, and my adventures since we last had seen each other. I had a plausible story ready to tell him, in which fact and fiction were mingled with some degree of skill, and expressed myself with considerable bitterness concerning the rebels, wishing that I could do something to aid in securing a speedy termination of the war by their defeat. After a very pleasant intercourse with the general, I parted from him, with a request that he would do me the honor to call on me at the hotel, which he promised to do.

The next day I met Captain B. in the street, and we exchanged greetings. He, too, promised to call upon me. This promise he kept, and I had quite a long talk with him on general topics, preferring to see more of him before attempting to make him useful.

I saw both the general and the captain several times after that, and in the course of conversation with one of them, I forget which, he happened to say something about Colonel Baker which excited my interest, and induced me to make particular inquiry concerning him. I had never heard of this individual before, but I now speedily learned that he was the chief government detective officer, and that he was uncommonly expert in hunting down rebel spies, and in putting a stop to their performances. I immediately concluded that Colonel Baker was a personage whom it was eminently desirable that I should become acquainted with at the earliest possible moment, and that it would be much more advantageous for me to make his acquaintance through the introduction of one of my military friends, than through finding him on my track just when I had some enterprise for the benefit of the Confederacy in process of consummation.

Whichever of the two it was that I had my original conversation with about Baker, it was the general who made me acquainted with him, and who spoke of me in such a manner as to put me in the good graces of this terrible man at the start.

Getting Acquainted With Detective Baker.

Colonel Lafayette C. Baker occupied at Washington a somewhat similar position to that held by General Winder at Richmond, although he scarcely had the large powers and extensive authority of the chief of the Confederate secret service department. In fact, Colonel Baker was a detective officer more than anything else, and he had comparatively little to do with military matters. The chief employment of himself and his assistants was to hunt down offenders of all kinds; and he was much more successful in this than he was in procuring information for the use of the war department, although he prided himself considerably on his own performances as a spy, and upon several not unsuccessful secret service expeditions into the Confederacy that had been made by his directions, and in accordance with his plans.

I confess that I came into the presence of so formidable an individual with some degree of trepidation; but I very soon learned to regard him as not half so ferocious as he looked, and as very far from being as difficult and dangerous a personage to deal with as he was made out to be. There is nothing like having a reputation for ferocity, and other terrible qualities, if you want to make people afraid of you, and Colonel Baker's reputation — how gained it would be somewhat difficult to tell — did him good service in exciting terror among those who were disposed to do things which it might not be pleasant for a government detective to find out.

Colonel Baker differed as much from General Winder in appearance as he did in other respects. Winder was a far more highly educated man, and he had all that peculiar polish of manners that can only be attained by education, and by constant association with refined and educated people. He was a rather imposing looking man, too, and a casual acquaintance with him was calculated to leave the impression that he was a very pleasant and good-natured old gentleman. Under his smooth exterior, however, was a deep scheming and far-reaching mind, and a hard and cruel disposition, and he was a much more dangerous individual to fall into the ill graces of than Baker. Baker was a man who, under some circumstances, I might have taken a genuine liking to; but the more I saw of Winder the less I liked him, and the more I was afraid of him.

Baker's Appearance And Character.

Baker was a tolerably fair-looking man, after a certain fashion. He was a returned Californian, having resided in San Francisco for a number of years before the war, and having been a member of the famous vigilance committee which made such short work with the rogues of that city in 1856. He had the bronzed face and the wiry frame of a western pioneer, and his manners were marked by a good deal of far-western brusqueness. His hair was dark and thick, and he wore a full and rather heavy beard; but his eyes were the most expressive feature of his face. These were a cold gray, and they had a peculiarly sharp and piercing expression, especially when he was talking on business. He also had a particularly sharp and abrupt manner of speaking at times; and more than once, when I have had reason to think that he might have knowledge of some of my transactions as a Confederate secret service agent, I have felt cold creeps all over me as he looked me straight in the eyes and spoke in that cutting tone of voice he was in the habit of using on occasions.

Colonel Baker was, in my opinion, a first-rate detective officer, and nothing more; for something more is necessary in the chief of a secret service department in time of war than to be a good hand at hunting down offenders. Give him a definite object to go for, and a very slight clew, and he would, in the majority of cases, accomplish a creditable piece of work. He had, however, very little skill in starting enterprises for himself. General Winder, in his place, would have made Washington a much more uncomfortable residence for Confederate spies and agents than it was during the war; and the fact that I was able to play double with the colonel, as I did for nearly a year and a half, and to carry on, as I did, a number of important operations on behalf of the Confederacy, so to speak, under his very nose, was not very creditable to him, all the circumstances being taken into consideration.

Colonel Baker, however, was not without his good qualities, even if he was far from being as great a personage as he thought he was. He was stern and severe, but he was a kinder man at heart than General Winder, although he lacked the intellectual attainments of the Confederate officer. With regard to the relative honesty of the two, it is perhaps as well that I should express no opinion.

Application For A Position In The Federal Secret Service.

On being introduced to Colonel Baker by General A., I asked him if he could not give me a position in his detective corps in some capacity, explaining as my reason for making such a request that, having lost everything through the rebellion, I was in urgent need of obtaining some remunerative employment by which I could support myself. In the course of the conversation with him, I told pretty much the same story that I had to the Federal officers at Memphis. I was of Spanish extraction, and all of my friends and relatives were either in Spain or Cuba. My husband, who was a United States army officer, — this I put in for the sake of obtaining the corroboration of my friend, the general, who had been acquainted with my first husband, but who apparently was not aware of the fact that he was in the Confederate service at the time of his death, — had died about the outbreak of the war, and I had been plundered, and otherwise so badly treated by the rebels, that I had been compelled to come North, where I had resided for a considerable period, but without being able to do much in the way of supporting myself. I was well acquainted throughout the South, having travelled a great deal, and having met a great many prominent people, and I did not doubt but that I possessed much information that would be of value to the government, and believed that I could obtain more, as I thought that I had talents which would enable me to do good service either as a spy or simply as a detective.

In the course of a somewhat lengthy conversation with Colonel Baker, I expressed myself with considerable bitterness with regard to the rebels, and the treatment I professed to have received at their hands, and endeavored to impress him with the idea that I was quite as anxious to engage in spy duty for the purpose of being revenged on them, as for the cash I expected to earn by the faithful performance of the particular tasks which might be assigned me.

Baker asked me a good many questions — not particularly skilful ones it seemed to me — about myself, my family, how long I had been at the North, what induced me to take up with the idea of joining the secret service corps, what employment I had hitherto been engaged in, and a variety of other matters. To his interrogatories I replied promptly, and with seeming frankness, and I left his presence tolerably confident that he believed all I had told him, and that I had made a good impression. As for the general, he seemed to be deeply impressed, and advocated my cause strongly, urging Baker to give me an engagement without further delay. The colonel, however, was cautious — he would see about it; he would talk further with me on the subject; he did not know that he had anything he could give me to do just at present, but he might have need of me shortly, and would let me know when he wanted me, and all that sort of thing.

After we left, the general promised to speak to the colonel again, and said he thought he could induce him to give me an engagement, but that, at any rate, he would try.

This interview with Colonel Baker convinced me that he was the man to begin with, if I wanted to get admission behind the scenes at Washington, and if I wanted to execute any really masterly coup at the North in behalf of the Confederacy. As a member of his corps, I would not only be able to do many things that would be impossible otherwise, but I would have ample opportunities for finding out a good many things that were going on, with regard to which the world at large was happily ignorant. As for Baker himself, I made up my mind that he was an individual wise in his own esteem, but with no comprehensive ideas, whom it would not be difficult to fool to the top of his bent. All that it would be necessary for me to do, in case he employed me, would be the performance of some real, or apparently real services for him, to secure his fullest confidence, while at the same time I could carry on my real work to the very best advantage.

Having waited about Washington for a week or two, without hearing anything from Colonel Baker, and the general having told me that there was no chance for me just at present, I decided to return to New York, as I thought, from a hint given me in a letter from my brother, that I might be able to commence operations there. I resolved, however, to cultivate Baker's acquaintance at the earliest opportunity, but thought that perhaps it would be best not to trouble him again until I had some definite scheme to propose.

Conferences With Confederate Agents.

When I reached New York, and saw my brother, he was expecting every day to be exchanged; and he told me that he had been visited by several Confederate agents, who wanted him to try and carry some documents through when he went South. He was afraid, however, to attempt anything of this kind, and, besides, did not think that it would be honorable under the circumstances. Without saying anything about my plans to him, therefore, I went and saw the agents in question, told them who I was, referred them to people who know me in the West, and in a general way disclosed to them my schemes for aiding the Confederacy. I did not, however, tell them about my interview with Colonel Baker, or that I had the intention of becoming an employee of his. This, I thought, was a matter I had best keep to myself for the present, for fear of accident.

These agents were exceedingly glad to see me, and had several jobs of work cut out which they were anxious that I should attend to. They did not strike me as being very important, but I thought that they would do to begin with, and that they would aid me in becoming acquainted with the Confederate working force in the North. I, therefore, promised to give them my aid so soon as my brother should leave for the South.

They then evinced a great eagerness to have me persuade my brother to carry some despatches through; but I said that it would be useless to ask him, and that the most I could expect of him was, that he would take a verbal message from myself to the officials who knew me in Richmond, to the effect that I was at the North, endeavoring to aid the Confederate cause by every means in my power, and filled with zeal to do whatever was to be done. It required considerable persuasion to induce my brother to do even this much, but finally, to my great satisfaction, he consented.

Secret Service Operations.

Shortly after this my brother went South on a cartel of exchange, and in due time I received information that my message had been delivered, and that I was recognized as a Confederate secret service agent.

In the mean while I made a large number of acquaintances among the adherents of both the Federal and Confederate governments, and did a great deal of work of one kind or another. None of my performances, however, for several months were of sufficient importance to warrant special mention in these pages, and their chief value to me was, that they kept me employed, and taught me what kind of work there was to do, and how to do it. During this time I visited Washington frequently, and always made it a point to see Colonel Baker, to whom I furnished a number of bits of information, the majority of which were of no particular value to him, although several were of real importance, and aided him materially in his effort to break up certain fraudulent practices, and to bring the rogues to justice.

By this means I retained his favor, and succeeded in gaining his confidence to a degree that the reader will probably think rather astonishing, considering my antecedents, and the kind of work that I was engaged in sub rosa. It should be borne in mind, however, that Baker did not know, and could not know, anything of my previous history; that I had been highly recommended to him, and that I was constantly proving useful to him. Wherein he failed in astuteness, was in permitting me to carry on the peculiar operations I did, almost under his eyes, and to make use of him, and of the machinery of his office, for the accomplishment of my plans.

At each succeeding interview I could see that Baker was becoming more and more favorably impressed with me, and I did not doubt that I would finally succeed in securing him as an unconcious ally of myself and my co-workers.

My grand opportunity at length did arrive, and the cunning secret service chief fell into the trap laid for him as innocently and unsuspectingly as if he had never heard of such a thing as a spy in his life. The colonel, as I have before remarked, was not a bad sort of a fellow in his way; and as I had a sincere regard for him, I am sorry he is not alive now, that he might be able to read this narrative, and so learn how completely he was taken in, and by a woman, too. He was a smart man, but not smart enough for all occasions.

One Of Baker's Grievances.

I have heard Colonel Baker frequently complain bitterly of the manner in which so many of his neatly laid plans were revealed to the very persons whom he was most anxious should know nothing about them, almost as soon as they were arranged; and I have endeavored to console him, and to suggest reasons for the phenomena, but was never able to quite make him understand the mystery. The reader of this narrative will know, as Colonel Baker never was able to, why some of his arrangements for capturing certain people who were making themselves troublesome to the government which he represented came to nothing; and it is to be hoped that other detectives, who are wise in their own conceit, will be edified by the revelations herein made.

In the chapters immediately following, I will relate the particulars of a series of operations, which, in many respects, were the most important of my career. The grand scheme which I labored to promote was a failure, but the work which I was assigned to do, in connection with it, was thoroughly well done, and, had the others performed their part as well as I performed mine, the ending of the war would probably have been very different from what it was. It would, however, scarcely have been possible for me to have worked with the signal efficiency I did, had I not secured the aid of Colonel Baker; and, that the chief detective officer of the Federal government should have been induced, unconsciously and unsuspectingly, to assist a rebel enterprise of the dangerous character of this one, was one of the most curious of the many curious things that happened during the war.

Before embarking in this enterprise, I succeeded in making the acquaintance of a number of influential people in Washington and elsewhere, and was engaged in operations of no little importance, the recital of which will, I think, prove both entertaining and edifying to the public, as it will show what consummate scoundrels were filling high places under the Federal government during the war, and how the people who believed the war to be a just one, and were making every sacrifice to carry it on, were betrayed by some of these most trusted servants.

As these operations, however, were connected with others of a much later date, I will, in order not to break the thread of my story, deter narrating them at present, merely stating here that the detection of the gigantic frauds that were being perpetrated was one of the most creditable events of Colonel Baker's career. I say this, notwithstanding that I was working against him at the time, and was implicated in the transactions alluded to. My position with regard to these matters was very different from that of the men with whom I co-operated. I did certain things, and would do them again under similar circumstances, because I think that in time of war it is right and proper to take every advantage of the enemy; but I had so little regard for my chief associates, that, although I took good care to keep out of Baker's sight, and had no desire to have him capture me, I could not help wishing, when I heard that he had his clutches on them, that he would succeed in having them punished according to their deserts.

It was most discreditable in certain of the principal officers of the government, and in certain members of Congress, that these people were permitted to have such opportunities for wholesale swindling, and that after they were detected, they were not only not brought to punishment, but some of them were even continued in office. Colonel Baker was indignant, and justly so, that his efforts were brought to nought through the interference of politicians, who were more afraid of having discredit brought on the party they represented, by the exposures which he made of corruption and scoundrelism in high places, than they were solicitous for honesty and efficiency in the administration of some of the most important affairs of the government. Baker was not only interfered with, and his plans balked, but his opponents even went so far as to persecute him, by bringing a charge of conspiracy, and by compelling him to defend himself in the courts.

I have known Colonel Baker to do some things that were scarcely defensible, but, with regard to this matter, I have the best means of knowing that he was entirely in the right, and that, had he been permitted to do as he wished, he would have effectually stopped rascalities of the worst kind, and have performed services that would have entitled him to the lasting gratitude of his countrymen. It was utterly disgraceful that he should have been subjected to persecutions for doing his simple duty, especially as his investigations were commenced, and for a considerable time carried on, at the instance of the very men who turned upon him so soon as his labors threatened to create a public scandal that might be disadvantageous to the political prospects of some of them. They were willing enough to hunt down, and to punish rascality, so long as they and their friends were not injured in any way, but so soon as Baker began to prove himself in earnest, and determined to bring the rascals to justice, no matter who might be hurt, the very men who had secured his services turned upon him, took sides with the rogues, and did their best to destroy him.


An Attack on the Rear of the Enemy in Contemplation. — The Difficulties in the Way of its Execution. — What it was expected to accomplish. — The Federals to be placed between two Fires. — I have an Interview with Colonel Baker, and propose a Trip to Richmond. — He assents, and furnishes me with Passes and Means to make the Journey. — I run through the Lines, and reach Richmond in Safety. — I return by a roundabout Route, laden with Despatches, Letters, Commercial Orders, Money Drafts, and other valuable Documents. — I am delayed in Baltimore, and fall short of Money. — The Difficulties I had in getting my Purse filled. — Sickness. — I visit Lewes, Delaware, and deliver Instructions to a Blockade Runner. — On reaching New York I learn that a Detective is after me. — I start for Canada, and meeting the Detective in the Cars, strike up an Acquaintance with him. He shows me a Photograph supposed to be of myself, and tells me what his Plans are. — The Detective baffled, and my safe Arrival in Canada. — Hearty Welcome by the Confederates there. — I transact my Business and prepare to return.

A MAGNIFICENT scheme was on foot during the summer and fall of 1864, for making an attack upon the enemy in the rear, which, if it had been carried out with skill and determination might have given a very different ending to the war. As it was, the very inefficient attempt that was made created an excitement that almost amounted to a panic, and seemed to show how effective a really well-directed blow, such as was intended, would have been. Such schemes as this, however, are always extremely difficult of execution, and this one was particularly so, on account of the necessity which existed for the most profound secrecy in all the movements, up to the very moment when the blow was to be struck. A large extent of country was to be operated upon, several distinct movements, of equal importance, were to be carried on at the same time, the failure of any one of which would imperil everything, and a neutral soil was to be the base of operations.

That a considerable number of persons should be informed of the essential points of the proposed campaign could not be avoided, and, of course, each person admitted to the secret diminished the chances of it being kept; for, even were traitors less plenty than they usually are, the fact that we were arranging our plans and making our preparations in the midst of enemies, or of half-hearted friends, rendered it scarcely within the range of possibility that some unlucky word or indiscreet expression would not give some one a hint of what was going on, and enable preparations to meet the attack to be made.

Besides all this, two great difficulties in the way of success existed. There was no thoroughness of organization, — it was impossible, under the circumstances, that there should have been, — and there was no recognized leader whose authority was admitted by all, and who had the direction of all the movements.

The "Copperheads."

The blow, therefore, was to be, to a very great extent, a random one, struck in the dark, and with no assurances whatever that the results expected from it would follow. We were utterly unable to tell how much we could count on in the way of active assistance from the Southern sympathizers, or "Copperheads," as they were called. For my own part, I did not rely greatly upon anything they could or would do, and am now very well satisfied that it was a piece of supreme folly to have expected anything from them.

These people were really traitors both to the South and the North, and in the long run they did the cause of the Confederacy far more harm than they did it good. They professed to believe that the South was right, and yet they were not willing to take up arms for her, or, with very few exceptions, to do anything practical for her that would render themselves liable to get into the least trouble with the Federal government. They annoyed the government by their captious criticisms of all its actions, by opposing the prosecution of the war in every way that they could with safety to themselves, and by loud expressions of Southern sympathy. All they accomplished, however, was a prolongation of the war, and the disfranchisement of nearly the entire white population of the South after the war was ended; for to them, more than to the Southerners themselves, was due the imposition of the hard terms which were the price of peace. To the "Copperheads," therefore, as a class, the South owe little or nothing; and, according to my view, they were the kind of friends that people in difficulties had best be without.

The Projected Attack By Way Of The Lakes.

The great scheme to which I have alluded was no less than an attack upon the country bordering upon the great lakes; the release of the Confederate prisoners confined at Johnson's Island in Lake Erie, near Sandusky, Ohio, and at other localities; their organization into an army, which was to engage in the work of devastating the country, burning the cities and towns, seizing upon forts, arsenals, depots, and manufactories of munitions of war, for the purpose of holding them, if practicable, or of destroying them; and, in fine, of creating such a diversion in their rear as would necessitate the withdrawal of a large force from the front.

A Diversion In The Rear Of The Enemy.

It was expected, in event of the success of the plan, that the Federal forces would be placed between two fires, and that the commanders of the Confederate armies in the South and in the North would be able between them to crush the enemy, and dictate terms of peace, or at least give a new phase to the war, by transferring it from the impoverished and desolated South to the rich, prosperous, and fertile North. As I have before stated, much reliance was felt by many on obtaining something more than mere sympathy from the "Copperheads." I, for one, however, had no great expectations that any considerable number of recruits would be gained on Northern soil, and founded my hopes more on the personal efforts of true and tried Southern men, than upon assistance of any kind from those who were not closely identified with Southern interests.

While the plans for the proposed grand attack in the rear was maturing, I was asked to attempt a trip to Richmond, and consented without hesitation. I was to consult with, and receive final instructions from the Richmond authorities, with regard to the proposed raid on the lake shores, and was also to attend to a variety of commercial and other matters, and especially to obtain letters and despatches for Canada.

Now was my time to make use of Colonel Baker; and I accordingly resolved to see what I could do with him, without more delay. Having received my papers and instructions, therefore, I went to Washington, and called on the colonel, who received me as politely as he had been in the habit of doing of late, and asked what he could do for me; for he saw, by my manner, that I had some definite project on hand, and began to believe that I really meant serious business.

In order to understand the situation from Colonel Baker's point of view, it may be necessary to state, that more than once rumors that attempts to liberate the Confederate prisoners were to be made, had been in circulation, and that Baker, as I knew, was exceedingly anxious to effect the arrest of some of the more active of the Confederate agents engaged in this and similar schemes.

A Confidential Talk With Baker.

I told him, therefore, that I had obtained information to the effect that a noted Confederate spy had been captured, and was now in one of the prisons, from whence he could doubtless find means to communicate with Confederates outside. My proposition was that I should go to Richmond, where, by passing myself off as a Confederate among people with whom I was acquainted, I would not only, in all probability, succeed in finding out exactly who this man was, and where he was, but what he and his confederates were trying to do. I suggested, also, that I could most likely pick up other information of sufficient value to pay for whatever the trip would cost the government.

When I had explained what I proposed to do, Baker said, "I am afraid if you attempt to run through the lines the rebs will capture you; if they do, they will use you rough."

I replied, "I am not afraid to take the risk if you will only give me the means of making the trip, and attend to getting me through the Federal lines."

"It will be a troublesome thing to get you through our lines," said Baker, "for it don't do to let everybody know what is going on when a bit of business like this is on hand; and, after you pass our lines you will have to get through those of the rebels, and that you will find no easy job, I can tell you, for they are getting more and more suspicious and particular every day."

"O, as for that," said I, "I can, if it is necessary to do so, go to Havana, where my relatives are living, and try and run through from there. I believe, however, that I can get through from here if I make the right kind of an effort; at any rate, I would like to make the attempt, if only to show you what I am capable of."

The colonel laughed at my enthusiasm, and said, "Well, you are a plucky little woman; and as you seem to be so anxious to spy out what the rebs are doing, I have half a notion to give you a chance. You must not blame me, however, if you get caught, and they take a notion to hang you; for, you know, that is a way they have of dealing with people who engage in this sort of business, and your sex won't save you."

"O," said I, "I don't think that my neck was ever made to be fitted in a noose, and I am willing to risk it."

The result of the conference was, that Colonel Baker finally consented to let me try my luck, and he gave me a variety of instructions about how to proceed, and about the particular kind of information I was to endeavor to obtain. I saw very plainly that he did not entirely trust me, or, rather, that he was afraid to trust me too much; but I attributed his lack of confidence in me to the fact that I was as yet untried, and consequently might be led by my enthusiasm into underrating the difficulties of the task I was undertaking, rather than to any doubt in his mind with regard to my fidelity. I resolved, therefore, to give him such proofs of my abilities, as well as of my fidelity, as would insure me his entire confidence in the future.

Baker Concludes To Send Me To Richmond.

It having been determined that I should make the trip, Baker told me to get ready for my journey immediately, and, in the mean time, he could procure me the necessary passes to enable me to get through the Federal lines, and money to meet my expenses.

When we next met, he gave me five thousand dollars in bogus Confederate bills, and one hundred and fifty dollars in greenbacks, which he said ought to be enough to see me through all right. I suggested that if the Confederates caught me passing bogus currency, they would be apt to deal harder with me than they would simply as a spy. Baker laughed at this, and said that that was one of the risks I must run, but that he did not think there was any danger, as these bogus notes passed more readily in the Confederacy than the genuine ones did, which he could only account for on the supposition that the Confederacy was a bogus government. He seemed to think that this was rather a good joke, although I was not able to see exactly where the laugh came in, and am afraid that I must have struggled hard with the faint smile that I attempted.

Everything being ready, off I started, and had but little difficulty in getting through the Federal lines on the passes furnished me by Baker. To get through those of the Confederate forces was a more troublesome operation; but, as when I came to the outposts, I was able to declare my real errand, I was not seriously impeded, and once in Richmond I was, of course, perfectly at home.

In Richmond.

On my arrival in that city, I immediately communicated with the authorities, delivered the messages and despatches submitted to me, sent letters to merchants in Wilmington and Savannah, as I had been directed to do, and gave all the information I could about the condition of things at the North, the proposed raid, and other matters.

While waiting to hear from the men in Wilmington and Savannah, and for the preparation of such instructions as I was to carry back from the Richmond people, I found myself falling short in funds, and accordingly tried to see what could be done with Baker's bogus Confederate notes. I had no difficulty in passing them, and consequently invested the entire batch in greenbacks, but, as the United States promises to pay were worth more, even in Richmond, than those of the Confederacy, I did not make an even exchange, by a great deal. Indeed, the greenbacks which I pocketed by this operation amounted to a very moderate sum, all of which I knew would be required for my return journey.

Within a few days I heard, by special messenger, from the parties in Wilmington and Savannah. This man delivered to me a package which was to be taken through to Canada, and also orders and sailing directions for certain blockade-runners, and drafts which were to be cashed, and the money disposed of in certain ways for the benefit of the Confederate cause. I also received directions from parties in Richmond to confer with the Confederate agents, and, if agreeable on all sides, to visit the prisons; it being thought that, as a woman, I would be able to obtain admission, and be permitted to speak to the prisoners, where a man would be denied.

Then, freighted with my small, but precious package, several important despatches, and other papers, and a number of letters for Confederates in Canada, I started to return. I would have been a rich prize for the Federals, if they should capture me; and, while on my way back, I wondered what Colonel Baker would think and say, in case some of his emissaries should chance to lay hands upon me, and conduct me into his presence, laden with all this contraband of war.

Return North By Way Of West Virginia.

In consideration of the value of the baggage I was carrying, it was thought to be too great a risk for me to attempt to reach the North by any of the more direct routes, and I was consequently compelled to make a long detour by way of Parkersburg, in West Virginia. This involved a long and very tiresome journey, but it was undoubtedly the best course for me to pursue.

The wisdom in choosing this route was demonstrated by the result, and I succeeded in reaching Parkersburg without being suspected in the least by any one. At that place I found General Kelley in command, and from him procured transportation to Baltimore, on the strength of my being an attaché of Colonel Baker's corps, which was a very satisfactory stroke of business for me, as it saved both trouble and expense.

The instructions under which I was moving required me to go to Baltimore, and from there inform the different parties interested of my arrival, and wait to hear from them as to whether they were ready to meet me at the appointed places, before proceeding farther. I was also to wait there for some drafts for large sums, which were to be cashed in New York, and the money taken to Canada. This involved considerable delay, which was particularly unpleasant just then, as I was getting very short of funds, and was, moreover, quite sick, the excitement I had gone through with, — for this was a more exciting life even than soldiering, — and the fatigues of a very long and tedious journey, having quite used me up.

Short Of Funds.

On arriving in Baltimore, fearing that I would not have enough money to see me through until I could obtain a remittance, I went to a store kept by a lady to whom I was told to appeal in event of being detained on account of lack of funds, and explaining who I was, and the business I was on, asked her if she would not assist me. She looked very hard at me, asked me a great many questions, and requested me to show her my papers. I said that this was impossible, as not only my honor and life were at stake, but that interests of great moment were involved in the preservation of the secrets I had in possession.

This, I thought, ought to have satisfied her; but it apparently did not, for she evidently regarded me with extreme suspicion. Her indisposition to trust me might have been caused by my rather dilapidated appearance, although my soiled travelling dress ought to have been proof of the fact that I had just been making a long, and very rough journey. Finally, another lady coming in, she walked back in the store with her, and I, supposing that she did not intend to take any more notice of me, arose to go out. She, however, seeing this movement, called for me to wait a moment. Shortly after she returned, and, handing me a sum of money, said, "I am a Union woman; but as you seem to be in distress, I will have to aid you. This is as much as I can afford to give."

I, of course, understood that this speech was intended for any other ears than mine that might be listening, and, merely giving her a meaning glance, walked out of the store, without saying anything further.

Having obtained this money, I went back to Barnum's Hotel, where I was stopping, feeling considerably relieved, so far as the exigencies of the moment were concerned, but not knowing to what poverty I might yet be reduced before I received my expected remittances. At first I was very much vexed at the behavior of the lady in the store, as I thought that the statement I made her, and the names of persons I mentioned as having referred me to her, ought to have gained me her confidence at once. On reflection, however, I came to the conclusion that she might not be so much to blame after all, as she was obliged to be careful, on the one hand, not to be imposed upon, and, on the other, not to be caught having secret dealings with the Confederates.


That night I was so sick that I had to send for a doctor. I offered him my watch for his services, stating that I was out of funds, and was detained in Baltimore through the non-arrival of money which I was expecting. He, however, refused to take it, and said that I might pay him if I ever was able, but that it would not matter a great deal one way or the other. The next day I was considerably better, and was able to go about a little, and I continued to improve with rest and quiet.

While stopping at Barnum's Hotel, I became acquainted with a young captain in the Federal army, and, as I made a practice of doing with all Federal officers, — I did not know when they might be useful to me, — I courted his friendship, and told him a story about myself similar to that I had told on several other occasions with which the reader is familiar, and was especially bitter in my denunciations of the rebels. The captain was so affected by my pitiful narrative, that he introduced me to General E. B. Tyler, who was very affable and courteous, and who, learning that I was anxious to travel northward, and was short of money, kindly procured for me a pass to New York.

Finally, I received notice that one of the blockade-runners, with whom I was to communicate, was at Lewes, Delaware, and, on proceeding to that place, found an English brig, the captain of which was anxiously waiting to receive instructions as to what port he was to sail for. The cargo was principally powder, clothing, and drugs, and the captain was exceedingly glad to see me, as he wanted to get away as fast as he could, there being a liability that the Federal authorities might pounce upon him at any moment. I accordingly gave him his sailing papers, which contained directions for him to proceed to Wadling's Island, on the north of Cuba, where he was to transfer his cargo to another vessel, which was to run for any port it could make in the Confederacy. The captain handed me the cards of several houses in Liverpool and Havre, which were extensively engaged in blockade-running, and I bade him adieu, wishing him a safe and pleasant trip.

This errand having been satisfactorily despatched, I went to Philadelphia, where I took a room at the Continental Hotel, and telegraphed for my papers, money package, &c., to be forwarded to me from New York by express. The next morning I received, in reply to this, my expected drafts, and also the following characteristic letter: —

"Quebec, Canada.

"Mrs. Sue Battle: You will find enclosed a card of your government agent here, B——. Any orders you have for your government, if forwarded, we will execute and despatch quickly, according to your instructions. Messrs. B.& T. have several clippers, which they will put in the trade, if desired. I will drink your ladyship's good health in a bottle of good old Scotch ale. Let us hear from you at your earliest convenience. I will await your answer to return to Europe.

With great respect, and with hopes of success,

"I am, madam, yours truly,        R. W. L."  

Back In New York.

I now proceeded, without further delay, to New York, where I was met, at the Desbrosses Street ferry, by my associate in that city, who conducted me to Taylor's Hotel, where he had engaged a room for me. He said that he had been getting somewhat anxious for my safety, the more especially as he was informed that the detectives had received some information of my doings, and were on the watch for me. This made me a trifle uneasy, as I did not know but my friend, Colonel Baker, had discovered some facts about me which had served to convince him that I was not likely to be as valuable a member of his corps as he had supposed I would when he started me on my Richmond trip. Since my return to the North I had been endeavoring to keep myself concealed from Baker and all his people, as I did not wish to renew my acquaintance with the colonel until I had visited Canada. That accomplished, I proposed to see him again, and to make use of his good offices for the purpose of putting into execution a still more daring scheme.

My New York accomplice said that he did not think I was in any immediate danger, although I would have to take care of myself. He himself had seen one of the detectives who were on my track, and, while I was evidently the person he was after, the description he had of me was a very imperfect one; so that, by the exercise of a little skill, I ought to be able to evade him. To put him on the wrong track, my accomplice had told this detective that he thought he knew the person he was searching for, and had procured a photograph of a very different looking woman, and given it to him.

Having cashed my drafts, and gotten everything ready, I started for Canada, carrying, in addition to valuable letters, orders, and packages, the large sum of eighty-two thousand dollars in my satchel. Mr. L., the correspondent whose letter has been quoted, was requested, by a telegraphic despatch, to meet me on my arrival in Canada.

Under ordinary circumstances, the great value of the baggage I was carrying would not have disturbed my peace of mind; but I knew that, in addition to the money I had with me, my capture would involve the officers of the Federal government obtaining possession of papers of the utmost importance, from which they would scarcely fail to gain quite sufficient information concerning the proposed raid to put them on their guard, and enable them to adopt measures for preventing the execution of the great scheme. It was not comfortable, therefore, for me to feel that the detectives were after me, and to be under the apprehension that one of them might tap me on the shoulder at any moment, and say, in that bland tone detectives use on such occasions, "Come, my good woman, you are wanted."

A Detective After Me.

I was absolutely startled when, on approaching the depot, my companion, pointing to a man in the crowd, said, "There, that is the fellow to whom I gave the photograph. He is looking for you; so beware of him." Then, thinking it best that we should not be seen together by Mr. Detective, he wished me good luck, and said good-by, leaving me to procure my ticket, and to carry my heavy satchel to the cars myself.

I watched the detective as well as I could without looking at him so hard as to attract his attention, and saw that he was rather anxiously surveying the people as they passed into the depot. I was really curious to know how he managed to get on my track; for, although he might not be sufficiently posted about me for purposes of identification, it was evident that he was working on some tolerably accurate information with regard to my movements. I also wondered whether Colonel Baker had any suspicion of me; but made up my mind that he scarcely could have, or else this officer would have been better posted.

After getting into the cars I lost sight of the detective until the arrival of the train in Rochester, and was congratulating myself that, not seeing the original of the photograph, he had remained in New York. At Rochester, however, to my infinite horror, he entered the car where I was, and took a seat near me.

When the conductor came through, after the train had started, the detective said something to him in a low tone, and showed him a photograph. The conductor shook his head on looking at it, and made a remark that I could not hear. I did, however, hear the detective say, "I'll catch her yet," to which I mentally replied, "Perhaps."

This whispered conference reassured me a little, as it showed that the officer was keeping his eye open for the original of the photograph which he had in his pocket, while the woman whom he was really after was sitting within but a few feet of him. I concluded that I would try and strike up an acquaintance with this gentleman, in order to find out what he had to say for himself, and because I thought that perhaps I could say or do something to make him even more bewildered than he was already.

I, therefore, picked up my shawl and satchel and removed to the seat immediately back of him. The window was up, and I made a pretence of not being able to put it down, so that after a bit the detective's attention was attracted, and he very gallantly came to my assistance. When he had closed the window, I thanked him, with a rather effusive politeness, and he, probably feeling a trifle lonesome, and also, perhaps, a trifle discouraged, seated himself beside me, and opened a conversation.

He was a short, thick-set man, with a dull, heavy expression of countenance, deep-set eyes, thick eyebrows, and a coarse and rather scrubby mustache. He did not have the appearance of being a very brilliant genius, but then, as I well knew, it did not do to place too much reliance upon mere outward appearances, especially with members of the detective force. After passing the compliments of the day we launched into a general conversation, I attempting to speak with a touch of the Irish brogue, thinking that it would induce him to believe me to be a foreigner. I would have addressed him with a Spanish accent, but was fearful that it would help to betray me, Baker as well as others having been told that I was of Spanish extraction, while I did not know as yet how much real information the secret-service chief might have with regard to me, or whether this fellow was one of his officers or not. I was playing a rather desperate game, but I felt tolerably sure of being able to deal with the gentleman. I confess, however, to having felt considerable anxiety, although I strove to conceal it from my companion.

"You are going to Canada, are you not?" inquired my new-made friend.

"Yes, sir."

"Do you live there?"

"O, no, sir. I live in England. I am only going to Canada to visit some friends."

"Have you been in America long?"

"Only about eight months."

"How do you like this country? Don't you think it is a finer country than England?"

"O, I like living in England much better than I do here, and expect to go back so soon as I get through with my Canada visit. There is too much fighting going on here to suit me."

"O, you need not mind that; besides, the war will soon be over now."

"Do you think so?" I queried. I am afraid just with the least touch of sarcasm, and for fear he might have noticed something unpleasant in my tone, added, "I will be glad when the fighting is over. It is terrible to hear every day of so many men being killed."

"O, that is nothing; we get used to it."

"Yes," I mentally said, "it may be nothing to such a shirk as you, for you will take precious good care to keep your carcass out of danger."

The detective now took out of his pocket the photograph which my associate in New York had given him, and which I was anxious to see, and handing it to me, said, "Did you ever see anybody resembling this? I am after the lady, and would like very much to find her."

"She is very handsome," I replied. "Is she your wife?" — looking him straight in the eyes as I said this.

"Wife! no," said he, apparently disgusted at the suggestion that he was in pursuit of a faithless spouse. "She is a rebel spy, and I am trying to catch her."

"Why, what has she been doing? She looks like a very nice lady, and I hardly could think she would do anything wrong."

"Well, she has been doing a good deal that our government would like to pay her off for. She is one of the smartest of the whole gang." This I thought was rather complimentary than otherwise. "I am on her track now, however, sure," — "Yes, the back track," I thought — "and I am bound to catch her."

"Well, if she has been doing anything against the law, I suppose she ought to be punished; but I hope you won't treat her unkindly if you do succeed in catching her."

"She will have to look out for that. It don't do to show any mercy to these she devils; they give us more trouble than all the men together."

"But perhaps this lady is not a spy, after all. She looks too pretty and nice for anything of that kind. How do you know about her?"

"O, some of our force have been on the track of her for a long time. She has been working for these Copperheads and rebel agents here at the North, and has been running through the lines with despatches and goods. She came through from Richmond only a short time ago, and she is now on her way to Canada, with a lot of despatches and a big sum of money, which I would like to capture."

"Doubtless you would," I thought; and then said aloud, "I wonder how you can find out so much, when there must be a great many people coming and going all the time. Supposing that this lady is a spy, as you say, how do you know that she has not already reached Canada?"

"Maybe she has," he replied, "but I don't think so. I have got her down pretty fine, and feel tolerably certain of taking her before she gets over the line."

This was a highly edifying and entertaining conversation to me, and I would willingly have prolonged it indefinitely, for the purpose of trying to get some points from my companion which might prove useful. As he, however, seemed inclined to change the subject, I was afraid to seem too inquisitive, and we consequently dropped into a general conversation, of no interest to the reader.

The detective seemed determined to be as polite to me as he could; and on leaving the cars he carried my satchel, containing eighty-two thousand dollars belonging to the Confederate government, and a variety of other matters which he would have taken possession of with the utmost pleasure, could he have known what they were. When we passed on board the boat I took the satchel from him, and thanking him for his attention, proceeded to get out of his sight as expeditiously as I could.

When the custom-house officer examined my luggage, I gave him a wink, and whispered the password I had been instructed to use, and he merely turned up the shawl which was on my arm, and went through the form of looking into my satchel.

The Detective Baffled.

On reaching the Canada shore I was met by Mr. L., who gave me a very hearty greeting; but I cautioned him to say as little as possible just then, as we might be watched. Glancing back, I saw my friend the detective, anxiously surveying the passing crowd; and calling Mr. L.'s attention to him, I said, "Do you see that heavy man with the black eyebrows and scrubby mustache, who looks as though he had lost something?"

"Yes. What of him?"

"He has been travelling on the train with me all day, and has been exceedingly polite and attentive. He is a detective, and I am the individual he is after, but he isn't half smart enough to catch me."

I then, as we moved off, related my adventure with the detective to my Canadian friend. He thought it a capital good joke, and said that I seemed to be tolerably well able to take care of myself.

On my arrival in Canada I was welcomed with great cordiality by the Confederates there, who were eager to know all about my trip, how things were looking at Richmond, whether I had letters for so and so, and anything else that I was able to tell them. I distributed my letters and despatches according to instructions; mailed packages for the commanders of the cruisers Shenandoah and Florida, which I had received with especial injunctions to be particularly careful of, as they were very important; and then proceeded to the transaction of such other business, commercial as well as political, as I had on hand.

As this was my first visit to Canada, there was much for me to do, and much to learn. I therefore became acquainted with as many people as I could, and found out all I could about the methods of transacting commercial and financial business, who the proper parties to deal with were, and everything else worth knowing that I could think of.

Planning For The Great Raid.

There were a good many matters of more importance than trade and finance, however, which demanded my immediate consideration, and many and long were the conferences held with regard to the proposed grand movement on the enemy's rear. There were a number of points about this grand scheme that I would have liked to have been informed of; but those who were making the arrangements for the raid were so fearful of their plans in some way getting to the ears of the Federal authorities, that they were unwilling to tell me, and other special agents, more than was absolutely necessary for the fulfilment of the duties intrusted to us. This excessive caution was, perhaps, demanded by the peculiarities of the situation; but it is certain, in my opinion, that could there have been a more definite understanding between the various co-workers, the chances of success would have been very largely increased. I, for one, could have performed my part with far more efficiency — although I did all that it was arranged that I should do — had I been trusted more largely with the details of the proposed movement.

As it was, I was merely furnished with a general idea of the contemplated attack, and was assigned to special duties in connection with it. These duties were to visit Johnson's Island, in Lake Erie, and, if possible, other military prisons, for the purpose of informing the Confederates confined in them of what was being done towards effecting their release, and what was expected of them when they were released. I was then to telegraph to certain agents that the prisoners were warned, and such other information as I might deem it important for them to be possessed of, in accordance with in arranged system of signals. This being done, I was to proceed to the execution of other tasks, the exact details of which, however, were made dependent upon circumstances, and upon directions I might receive from the agents in the States, under whose orders I was to act.

This plan for a grand raid by way of the lakes excited my enthusiasm greatly, and I had very strong hopes of its success. I knew how desperate the situation at the South was getting to be, and felt that a diversion of this kind, which would excite terror in the hearts of the people of the North, and which would probably cause a considerable force to be withdrawn from the front, would help the Confederate cause at this particular juncture more, even, than a series of brilliant victories on the well-trodden battle-grounds of the South. A large number of the people of the North were, I knew, getting heartily sick of the war, and I thought that it would only need a brilliant movement for transferring some of the fighting and some of the desolation to Northern ground, to cause the anti-war policy to demand that peace should be had at any price. Whether the proposed raid would have accomplished all that was expected of it, can, of course, never be determined. It is probable, however, that I, as well as others interested, underrated the difficulties of executing such a complicated scheme. Be that as it may, something could have been done, more than was done, had everybody been as enthusiastic and as determined as myself, and had there been no traitors with us. The scheme failed, when it should have been, at least, partly successful; but it need not have failed so utterly as it did, had it been managed with wisdom, backed up by true daring.


I return to Washington for the Purpose of reporting to Colonel Baker. — Apprehensions with Regard to the Kind of Reception I am likely to have from him. — The Colonel amiable, and apparently unsuspicious. — I give him an Account of my Richmond Trip, and receive his Congratulations. — General A. calls on me, and he, Baker, and I go to the Theatre. — A Supper at the Grand Hotel. — Baker calls on me the next Morning, and proposes that I shall visit the Military Prisons at Johnson's Island and elsewhere, for the Purpose of discovering whether the Confederate Prisoners have any Intentions of escaping. — I accept the Commission, and start for the West. — Reflections on the Military and Political Situations.

ON my return from Canada, I went first to New York, where I delivered such matters as had been committed to my care for my associates there, and after a conference with them, hurried on to Washington, for the purpose of seeing Colonel Baker.

It was not without many apprehensions that I concluded to face the colonel again, for I did not know how much information he might have about me by this time, and it really seemed like walking into the lion's den. That his officers were aware of some of my movements, as they were following me up rather too closely for comfort, was certain; but whether they had yet succeeded in identifying the rebel spy and secret-service agent with the woman whom Baker had employed to go on a confidential mission to Richmond, was not so clear. Taking all things into consideration, I concluded that Baker and his men must be rather in a mist about me; for the detective, whom I had met on the cars, was evidently working somewhat in the dark, which could hardly have been the case had his chief suspected me of playing a double game with him.

If Baker, however, had the least suspicion with regard to me, the fact of my very prolonged absence would, I knew, be liable to increase it, although under ordinary circumstances there would have been no difficulty in explaining this to his satisfaction; for he well knew that the errand he had sent me on was a difficult as well as a perilous one, and that it was not to be accomplished quite as easily as a trip between Washington and New York.

Making all allowances for the probabilities in my own favor, however, I confess that I experienced some trepidation at the idea of facing the colonel, and I wondered not a little what he would do with me in case he did happen to know who I really was. It was of such great importance, however, that I should gain immediate admittance to the military prisons, and I knew that such admittance could be gained by going there as one of Baker's corps, whereas it might otherwise be impossible, that I determined to take all the risks, so far as my own safety was concerned, and to try and have the colonel my ally in making the preparations for what, if properly carried out, would be one of the most brilliant episodes of the war, so far as the Confederates were concerned, and that would not unlikely have the effect of bringing the contest to a speedy termination.

The idea of being able to use the chief of the Federal detectives for the advancement of the Confederate cause was one that gave me enormous satisfaction, and I more than once fancied what a capital good joke it would be for me, after I succeeded in getting beyond Colonel Baker's reach, to inform him how badly he had been taken in, and to ask him what he thought of me and of my performances from a professional point of view.

Reporting To Baker.

While on my way to Washington for the purpose of meeting him, and of making a report of my Richmond trip, my prospective interview was anything but a joking matter. The thing had to be done, though; so, stifling my fears, I, on my arrival in Washington, walked boldly into the colonel's presence, and announced myself as having just got back from Richmond.

Baker received me with proper cordiality, and congratulated me on my safe return. There was nothing whatever in his manner to indicate that he had the slightest suspicion of me. This was reassuring; still I could not be quite certain but that, having once got me into his power, he intended to find out what I had to say for myself before beginning a less agreeable conversation.

I, however, did not propose to commence saying disagreeable things if he did not; and so, presuming that he imagined me to have just returned from the Confederate capital, I proceeded to make such a report of my doings as I thought would suit him.

I told him that I had obtained the name of the spy whom he was anxious to discover, and such a description of him as would enable me to identify him without any difficulty, if I could get to see him. The information I had obtained with regard to him induced me to believe that he was at Johnson's Island, but of this I could not be certain.

I then went on to say that it was understood in Richmond that arrangements were being made for a grand stampede of the rebel prisoners, and that this spy, in some way, found means to communicate with the Copperheads and the rebel secret-service agents. This was the story which it had been arranged between my confederate and myself I should tell Baker, for several reasons. There was the least bit of truth in it, and, in endeavoring to throw a detective like Baker off the scent, a little truth mingled with the fiction would be likely to accomplish the object better than a story which was all fiction. As there had been rumors more than once of attempted stampedes of the prisoners, it was concluded that Baker would not be likely to regard this one as of any very great importance, especially if he had no inkling of the grand raid which was to take place in connection with the release of the prisoners, while at the same time he would be anxious to find out whether a stampede was really to be attempted, and if I managed right, would most likely employ me to make the investigations for him.

This explanation is worth making, for its own sake, as it will give the reader an idea of my method of working, and at the same time will serve to show that I was not revealing to the colonel any secrets which it was my duty to keep from him.

Baker Falls Into The Trap.

Baker fell into the trap just as innocently as if he had been a young man from the country, instead of the chief detective officer of a great government which was engaged in a gigantic contest. On my suggesting my willingness to follow the thing up by visiting the prisons for the purpose of finding the spy, and if possible discovering the facts with regard to any conspiracy that might be on foot, he did not give me any definite answer at once, but said he would think about it; but I saw plainly that he considered the idea as rather a good one, and did not doubt that he would speedily make up his mind to send me.

When we had finished talking over this matter, I proceeded to give him a detailed account of what I saw and heard in Richmond. I said that the rebels were very strict and very suspicious, and would not allow any one to go to the front, or to visit the prisons or the public buildings. I was, however, able to pick up quite a number of facts that might be useful, and then went on to tell him a well-connected story, partly true and partly false, about the way things looked, and the way people talked; what the forces in the field, and their locations were; how the blockade-runners managed to get in and out of port; what I had seen and heard on the road as I was going to and fro, and so on. None of the real facts that I gave the colonel were of any importance, although I magnified them as much as I could, but they served to give an air of plausibility to my narrative, and to convince him that I was quite an expert spy, considering that I was a mere beginner.

Baker asked me numerous questions, which I answered to the best of my ability, so far as was consistent with the good of the Confederate cause; and when we had concluded our conversation he praised me very warmly, said that I was a plucky little woman, that he had thought I had vim enough to go through if any one could, that I had done a good service to the country, and a variety of other nice things, which had the effect of making me feel quite pleasant and quite at my ease with him again; being reasonably certain, although not absolutely sure as yet, that he was harboring no malevolent intentions towards me. Baker also remarked, that not hearing anything of me for such a long time, he had been getting somewhat uneasy about me; to which I replied, by telling him how and why I had been detained; and the explanation appeared to be entirely satisfactory, for he said no more on that point.

I was curious to know exactly how well he was informed with regard to my real movements, and had half a dozen questions on the end of my tongue which I wanted to ask him. I concluded, however, that this would be going rather too far, and would do no good, while it might have the effect of exciting suspicions where none at present existed. I did, however, venture to inquire whether he had told any one that I was attached to the corps.

"No, no," he replied, "certainly not, and I don't want you to tell any one either. If I employ you for anything, it will be for strictly confidential business, which must be between ourselves. I would rather that even my own people should not know anything about you as a secret-service agent."

Having finished our business talk, I asked for my friends General A. and Captain B., and was informed that the captain was in the field, but that the general was in the city, and would doubtless be glad to see me.

On reaching the Kirkwood House, where I had taken a room, I sent my card to the general at Willard's Hotel, and he came immediately to see me. While we were chatting, in came Baker, who, I judged by his manner, had something which he wanted to say to me, and surmised that it was a consent that I should visit the prisoners.

"Ah, general," said he, "I see that you are bound to continue your attentions to our little friend here. She hasn't been in Washington many hours, and you have found her out already. I guess, however, that she likes me better than she does you, for she came to see me as soon as she arrived."

The general looked a trifle surprised at this, and said, "Why, Baker, you must be getting to be a lady's man! I didn't know that you were particularly inclined that way."

Baker laughed at this, and said, "She is a first-rate little woman, and I wish there were more like her. She has just made a very successful trip to Richmond, and has brought me some important items."

"Is that so?" said the general. "Why, I did not know that she belonged to your corps."

"Neither does she in a regular way; but as she knew a good deal about Richmond, and was acquainted with a number of people there, I thought I would let her make a trip, especially as she was extremely anxious to try her luck."

The general congratulated me on my success, and then proposed that we should all three go that evening to Ford's Theatre. Baker assented, and I was quite willing, as I thought an evening's entertainment in witnessing a good play would brighten me up a little. Besides, I was anxious to cultivate the acquaintance of these two men, and was especially solicitous to have all possible opportunities of conversing with the colonel, with a view of inducing him to accede to my proposition for a visit to the military prisons. Baker and the general then said good-by, for the present. and went away together.

About seven o'clock in the evening the general returned alone, and as he was escorting me to the carriage I asked where Baker was. The general replied that he had been compelled to go unexpectedly to the executive mansion, on some business, but would probably join us in the theatre.

An Evening At The Theatre.

This aroused all my apprehensions of danger again, and I became fearfully uneasy lest all the colonel's fine words should merely have been intended to draw me out and conceal some sinister designs towards me. I stifled my fears, however, as well as I could, and after we got to the theatre tried to converse with the general in an agreeable and natural manner. I was startled by the least sound, however, and was unable to avoid turning round to look every time any one came in, almost expecting every moment that Baker, or one of his officers, would appear for the purpose of arresting me.

My fears proved to be groundless. Baker did come in soon after the play commenced, and taking a seat beside me, made an apology for not joining the party sooner, but begging to be excused, as he had been compelled to go up to the White House, for the purpose of having a talk with the president and the secretary of war. There was nothing in his manner then or afterwards to indicate that he was suspicious of me, and both he and the general, while the play was in progress, were apparently greatly absorbed in what was occurring on the stage.

As for myself, I found it impossible to get interested. I was uneasy for my own safety, knowing that I was playing a desperate game, and was even more anxious lest the grand scheme which I was endeavoring to promote should fail through any fault or misdirection of mine. My thoughts, too, wandered to our brave men in the field, and to the sufferings of the poor prisoners. I almost reproached myself for even making an appearance of indulging in an evening's recreation in company with two Federal officers, while so many thousand Confederates were enduring so much, but consoled myself with the reflection that I was not doing this for mere pleasure, but was engaged in the performance of an important task, which might be greatly promoted through my acquaintance with these men. Finally, to my great relief and satisfaction, the play came to an end, and the curtain dropped for the last time.

As we passed out, the general proposed that we should go to the Grand Hotel and have some supper. I did not care to do this, but thought it best to accept the invitation.

At Supper.

We had a really superb repast — one of the finest I had ever sat down to; and as I was hungry, I ate quite heartily. In the way of drinkables, I confined myself to lemonade, but the gentlemen took wine. The general, who was quite fond of his toddy, drank rather more than was good for him, and soon became very talkative and a trifle noisy. He was one of those men, however, who never forget to be gentlemen, and he neither said nor did anything offensive. Finally, he began spinning some long yarn, during which Baker took an opportunity to whisper to me that he would probably want to see me in the morning. I nodded assent, although my fears began to rise a little, but I hoped that instead of demanding a different account of my doings from that which I had already given him, the colonel would give me my commission for a trip to the West.

After we had finished our supper, we returned to the Kirkwood, where I bade them good night, at about a quarter before twelve, at the drawing-room door; and as soon as they were gone, hastened to my own room to obtain the rest of which I stood in so much need, for I was tired out with the fatigues of travel and the excitement and anxieties of the day.

The next morning, just as I was sitting down to breakfast, the waiter brought me a note from Colonel Baker, in which he stated that he would call to see me at the hotel about half past ten o'clock, and requested me to await him at that hour. Still being uncertain whether Baker's intentions towards me were amicable or not, it was not without some trepidation that I looked forward to this interview. I did not know him then as well as I did subsequently, or I would scarcely have been so much afraid of him. It did not take me a very great while to discover that he was not a prodigy of astuteness, but at this time, as the reader is aware, I had had comparatively little to do with him. I knew that if he was not sharp he ought to have been, holding the position that he did, and I also knew that I had good cause to dread falling into his hands, or even being suspected by him. Not only were some of the members of his corps eagerly looking for me, but I was about engaging in a particularly hazardous enterprise which it would have made Baker's fortune to have gotten an inkling of, and I did not know — even presuming that Baker himself was unaware of the fact that I was a Confederate spy — how soon he or some of his men might succeed in identifying me with the troublesome woman they were searching for, or how soon they might discover something about the plot which I was aiding to carry out. The situation, therefore, was a delicate one for me, for much more than my own safety was dependent upon the chief of the United States secret service continuing in the belief that I was exactly what I represented myself to be, and retaining his confidence in me.

Thus far, to be sure, I had been able to detect nothing in Colonel Baker's manner to indicate that his suspicions were excited in the least, although I had watched him narrowly. But, as I knew that, as a detective, it was a part of his business to mask his thoughts and feelings, and not to give even a shadow of a hint that he had been preparing a trap until the moment he was ready to spring it and secure his victim, I felt that I could not place too much reliance on his friendly looks and behavior. On the other hand, I had much confidence in my own power of reading character and detecting motives, and, in watching Colonel Baker, during my late interviews with him, I was not working in the dark, as I might have been doing under some circumstances. I knew that there was good reason to believe not only that he might suspect me, but that he might be possessed of accurate information about me, and I accordingly studied his behavior towards me from this standpoint. The result was a reasonable conviction with regard to my present safety, and yet nothing like a feeling of absolute certainty. As for the future, I, of course, could know nothing as to what that would bring forth, but was prepared to venture everything. At the appointed time, Colonel Baker made his appearance, and said "Good morning" with a pleasant smile, in which there was apparently not a shade of malice or unfriendliness. After asking me how I had liked the play, and making a few other unimportant remarks, he said, "Well, my little woman, I have made up my mind to let you try your skill as a detective once more, if you are in the same mind you were yesterday."

"Yes," I replied, "I am just as anxious now as I was then, and I think I can not only find that spy for you, but that I can discover whether there really is any intention among the rebel prisoners to make a break."

"That is just what I want you to do. I think that a woman can manage a job of this kind better than a man anyhow, and I believe that you are just the woman to manage it in first-rate style."

"Thank you, colonel; I can at least try."

About That Spy.

"Yes, that's it; try and find out all you can. I want you to pick out this man for me if he is at Johnson's Island, as you seem to think he is, and if you succeed in finding him, telegraph to me immediately. If he is not at Johnson's Island, you had better try and find out if any of the prisoners know anything about him; it is possible, you know, that he may be in some other prison, or, indeed, that he may have escaped. At all events, make every effort to find him."

"You know, colonel, I am acquainted with a good many people down South, and I may come across somebody I know, or somebody that knows somebody I know, and by representing myself as a disguised Confederate, I may be able to get the prisoners to talk plainer than they would to a stranger or a new visitor."

"Well, I will leave it to you to manage the thing the best way you can think of. It would not be a bad idea, however, if you were to pass yourself off as a Confederate secret-service agent, and if you were to intimate that something was likely to be done soon to procure the release of the prisoners, you might be able to induce them to say whether they have any plans of their own, or whether they are in communication with any one outside."

"That is about my idea of working; but the only difficulty will be in getting a chance to talk to any of the men privately."

"O, I'll arrange that for you by giving you a confidential letter, which, however, you must be careful not to let any one see except the commanding officer. If those fellows are up to any tricks, I want to know all about it at once. There has been a good deal of talk at different times about the prisoners attempting to stampede, but it has been pretty much all newspaper sensation, with nothing in it."

"But, you know, colonel, something of the kind might be attempted; and if a stampede or an insurrection should take place, it would create a good deal of excitement just now."

"Yes, yes; that's so. If there is anything on foot I want to discover it, and I want you to find out all you possibly can, and let me know immediately."

"Well, you can rely upon me, and I think you will find me as shrewd as most of your detectives are."

"If you will only keep your eyes and ears well open, and open your mouth only when you have business to talk about, I will most likely find you a good deal shrewder."

"Why, colonel, you don't appear to have the best opinion in the world of some of your detectives."

"O, yes, they do pretty well; some of them are really first-rate men; but they are not as smart as they ought to be for the kind of service they are in."

"I suppose some of those rebel spies give you a good of trouble in keeping the run of them."

"O, you haven't any idea of it. Half the people of Washington and its immediate vicinity are rebel sympathizers, and would be spies if they dared, and knew how. And then they are at work all through the North and in Canada. Some of my people are after a spy now who has been travelling between Richmond and Canada, but they don't seem to be able to lay their hands on her. If they don't catch her soon, I have half a mind to let you try what you can do, if you succeed well with your present trip."

The conversation at this point, I concluded, was getting to be rather too personal, and I thought it best to change the subject, although I could not help smiling at the idea of Baker employing me to catch myself. That, I thought, would be entirely too arduous a task for me to undertake in my then rather feeble state of health, although there might be both amusement and profit in it. Forbearing, however, to enter upon this interesting theme, I asked the colonel when he desired me to start. He said by the first train, if I could get ready; and handing me my confidential letter and two hundred dollars, he asked whether there was an thing more he could do for me.

I said that I could think of nothing, but would proceed to get ready for my journey immediately. He then shook hands and left, after wishing me a pleasant trip, and expressing a hope that he would soon receive a good report from me.

When the colonel was gone, I went up to my room to pack my travelling satchel; and feeling perfectly satisfied from my late conversation with him that I was safe for the present so far as he was concerned, I laughed heartily at the absurdity of the situation, and wondered with myself whether I would have dared to attempt anything of this kind at Richmond with old General Winder. I had no difficulty in concluding that if fate had compelled me to play tricks with Winder, as I was doing with Baker, I would have been forced to proceed in a less open and free and easy style about it, and congratulated. myself most heartily that I had so easy a customer to deal with under existing circumstances.

Calling a carriage, I was soon at the Baltimore depot, and on board the train. Having to stop at the Relay House for the western bound train, I made an effort to see the Confederate agent who was stationed there, as I had a number of things I wanted to say to him. He was an old Southern acquaintance of mine, and there were a variety of little matters that I could have whispered in his ear that would have been useful, and, at the same time, that I would not have cared to confide to every agent with whom I happened to come in contact. There is a good deal in knowing who one's friends really are in transacting such delicate business as that I was then engaged in. Unfortunately, my friend was away; and as I was in too much of a hurry to wait for his return, I was forced to forego the pleasure of seeing him.

Westward Ho!

Once on board the Western train, I had a long journey before me, and had plenty of time to think over affairs generally. I planned and schemed until my brain fairly whirled, and I was glad to chat a little with some of my neighbors, or to gaze through the car windows at the gorgeous scenery that met my eyes at every turn in the road, and to try and think for a while only of its beauties, as a rest from the wild thoughts that filled my mind.

Try as I might, however, I could not avoid thinking of the situation, the prospects of the Confederacy, and the chances of success for the grand scheme, the execution of which I was endeavoring to assist. What if we failed? or, if we succeeded in our first effort, would we be able to accomplish all we intended and expected? These were questions I could not answer. What I dreaded most was, the possible effect of a raid by way of the lakes on the Confederate sympathizers and the anti-war party. Would it stimulate them to make greater exertions than ever to bring the conflict to a close, or would this, bringing the war to the doors of themselves and their neighbors, turn them against us? I confess that I had fears of the latter result, for I had a not ill-founded distrust of these people, who are neither one thing nor the other; and I believed that had the Copperheads wielded their influence, as they might have done, they could either have prevented the war in the beginning, or could have forced a conclusion long ago.

What power the opponents of the war were able to exert would, however, be determined very shortly. A presidential election was coming off in a few weeks, and the greatest excitement with regard to the political battle that was being waged prevailed. Nearly everybody admitted that the defeat of Mr. Lincoln for a second term would mean that a majority of the people of the North were ready and anxious to abandon the contest, and to let the seceding Southern states go in peace. The fact that the Democratic candidate was a Federal general, who had been commander-in-chief of the armies, and who professed to be willing and anxious to carry on the war, did not please me very well, for it indicated to my mind, very plainly, that the anti-war people were afraid to oppose Mr. Lincoln and the war party on a square issue.

I, however, was nothing of a politician, and did not profess to understand the ways of politicians, they being a class of men for whom I had no special admiration. But I could not help thinking that the Confederate government and the people of the South were basing too many hopes on what the Democrats would be able to do at this election. I knew that they in many ways were doing what they could to secure a Democratic victory; but, for my part, I relied far more on bullets than on ballots to give the South the victory, and I expected more from the great raid, for which I was now working, than I did from the election of General McClellan.

Neither the raid nor the election turned out as it was hoped they would, but just about that time barren hopes were pretty much all that Confederate patriotism and enthusiasm were fed on, and they were rapidly getting starved for lack of more solid meat. The failure of the contemplated raid in the rear, and the re-election of Mr. Lincoln, put an end to all expectations of such a division of sentiment at the North as would be of any benefit to the Confederacy, and there was nothing to be done but to fight the thing out to the bitter end.

The period which preceded the overthrow of the Confederacy was, however, one of brilliant campaigning and desperate fighting, and was the time when the Confederate agents and spies at the North labored with the greatest assiduity. The performances of these agents and spies have never yet been related as they deserved to be, and this narrative of my adventures, personal as it is in its nature, and limited as it necessarily is in its scope, will, I trust, be regarded as a not uninteresting or unimportant contribution to a history of some of the least understood phases of the great conflict.


On the Way to Sandusky. — I am introduced to a Federal Lieutenant on the Cars, who is conducting Confederate Prisoners to Johnson's Island. — He permits me to converse with the Prisoners, and I distribute some Money among them. — Arrival at Sandusky. — First View of Johnson's Island. — I visit the Island, and on the Strength of Colonel Baker's Letter am permitted to go into the Enclosure and converse with the Prisoners. — I have a Talk with a young Confederate Officer, and give him Money and Despatches, and explain what is to be done for the Liberation of himself and his Companions. — Returning to Sandusky, I send Telegraphic Despatches to the Agents in Detroit, Buffalo, and Indianapolis. — How the grand Raid was to have been made. — Its Failure through the Treason or Cowardice of one Man.

AT Parkersburg I met General Kelley again, and had a talk with him, in which he laughingly suggested that I seemed to be in as much of a hurry to go West as I had been to go East the last time he saw me. I remarked, that in war times the enemy had a way of putting in appearances at various points of the compass, and that we had to go for him wherever he happened to be, if we didn't want him to come to us. I also hinted, with a little maliciousness, that perhaps the reason why the war had lasted so long was because so many of our generals instead of going after the rebels wherever they were to be found, insisted on waiting for them to come to places where it would be most convenient to fight them. The general said there was some truth in that; and that if all the generals were as smart about doing what they had to do as I seemed to be, the rebels would have been whipped long ago.

It is pleasant to have commendation even from those we are fighting against, and I felt flattered at the general's good opinion of me, although I knew that he was really not aware what good cause he had to commend my smartness. I wondered what he would say about me if he should suddenly discover what kind of an errand I was then really on, and how, as one of Colonel Baker's secret agents, I was aiding in the execution of a plot, that, if successful, would cause a panic at the North such as had never yet been dreamed of. But such things at such a time were not even to be looked out of the eyes, much less hinted at with the lips, and I parted from the general, with Cincinnati as my next objective point, with a full expectation that ere long he would hear of me, or at least of my work, in a way that would astonish him.

Making The Acquaintance Of An Officer In Charge Of Confederate Prisoners.

After leaving Cincinnati en route for Sandusky, I was introduced by the conductor to a lieutenant who had in charge twenty-seven Confederate prisoners. These he was taking to Sandusky to be placed on Johnson's Island, and I, consequently, thought that he might be an advantageous person to know, and that if I could manage to get into his good graces I might in some way advance the interests of the scheme I was engaged in by means of him.

This officer was a rather flashy young man, who evidently thought that he cut a very dashing figure in his uniform, and whose mind was given rather to reflection on his own importance than to the acquisition of useful knowledge. He was not, however, without a certain amount of good sense, and he made a far from disagreeable travelling companion, for we speedily got tolerably well acquainted, and he not only was very attentive, but he entertained me not a little by his conversation.

Not knowing what use I might have for him, I tried to be as cordial as possible, and long before we reached Sandusky we were on the best of terms. I did not find out a great deal from him that was worth knowing, for the reason, perhaps, that he did not know anything. He, however, permitted me to have a talk with the prisoners, whom I questioned as to what commands they belonged to, when they were captured, and other matters, and gave them each a dollar apiece out of Colonel Baker's money. Beyond asking them questions, I did not say a great deal to them, for I could not know how far they were to be trusted; but I looked much more than I said, and several of the more intelligent among them exchanged significant glances with me, which intimated that they understood that I had a purpose in view in cultivating the acquaintance of the lieutenant so assiduously, and was disposed to befriend them by any means in my power.

As to the lieutenant, he took such a decided fancy to me, and was so excessively gallant, that he insisted upon paying all my incidental expenses along the road. To this I could not, under the circumstances, permit myself to make any objections, but I was unable to avoid wondering whether it was his own cash or that of Uncle Sam's he was so very free with. That, however, was no concern of mine, and it would have been even more impolite for me to have asked him the question than to have declined to permit him to pay my bills.

It was midnight when we reached Sandusky. The lieutenant, attentive to the last, put me in the hotel coach, and requesting me to keep an eye on his satchel, he excused h