Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for Three Months in the Southern States–Lieut. Col. Fremantle, Coldstream Guards.

Three Months in the Southern States–Lieut. Col. Fremantle, Coldstream Guards.

April 28, 2013

Three Months in the Southern States–Lieut. Col. Fremantle, Coldstream Guards

28th April (Tuesday).—We crossed the river Guadalupe at 5 A.M., and got a change of horses.

We got a very fair breakfast at Seguin at 7 A.M., which was beginning to be a well-to-do little place when the war dried it up.

It commenced to rain at Seguin, which made the road very woolly, and annoyed the outsiders a good deal.

The conversation turned a good deal upon military subjects, and all agreed that the system of election of officers had proved to be a great mistake. According to their own accounts, discipline must have been extremely lax at first, but was now improving. They were most anxious to hear what was thought of their cause in Europe; and none of them seemed aware of the great sympathy which their gallantry and determination had gained for them in England in spite of slavery.

We dined at a little wooden hamlet called Belmont, and changed horses again there.

The country through which we had been travelling was a good deal cultivated, and there were numerous farms. I saw cotton-fields for the first time.

We amused ourselves by taking shots with our revolvers at the enormous jack-rabbits which came to stare at the coach.

In the afternoon tobacco-chewing became universal, and the spitting was sometimes a little wild.

It was the custom for the outsiders to sit round the top of the carriage, with their legs dangling over (like mutes on a hearse returning from a funeral). This practice rendered it dangerous to put one’s head out of the window, for fear of a back kick from the heels, or of a shower of tobacco-juice from the mouths, of the Southern chivalry on the roof. In spite of their peculiar habits of hanging, shooting, &c, which seemed to be natural to people living in a wild and thinly-populated country, there was much to like in my fellow-travellers. They all had a sort of bonhommie honesty and straightforwardness, a natural courtesy and extreme good-nature, which was very agreeable. Although they were all very anxious to talk to a European—who, in these blockaded times, is a rara avis—yet their inquisitiveness was never offensive or disagreeable.

Any doubts as to my personal safety, which may have been roused by my early insight into Lynch law, were soon completely set at rest; for I soon perceived that if any one were to annoy me the remainder would stand by me as a point of honour.

We supped at a little town called Gonzales at 6.30.

We left it at 8 P.m. in another coach with six horses —big strong animals.

The roads being all natural ones, were much injured by the rains.

We were all rather disgusted by the bad news we heard at Gonzales of the continued advance of Banks, and of the probable fall of Alexandria.

The squeezing was really quite awful, but I did not suffer so much as the fat or long-legged ones. They all bore their trials in the most jovial good-humoured manner.

My fat vis-d-vis (in despair) changed places with me, my two bench-fellows being rather thinner than his, and I benefited much by the change into a back seat.

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