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 29, 2013

The American Civil War,Three Months in the Southern States–Lieut. Col. Fremantle, Coldstream Guards

29th April (Wednesday).—Exhausted as I was, I managed to sleep wonderfully well last night. We breakfasted at a place called Hallettsville at 7 A.M., and changed carriages again.

Here we took in four more Confederate soldiers as outsiders, and we were now eighteen in all. Nowhere but in this country would such a thing be permitted.

Owing to the great top-weight, the coach swayed about like a ship in a heavy sea, and the escapes of a capsize were almost miraculous. It is said that at the end of a Texan journey the question asked is not, “Have you been upset?” but, “How many times have you been upset?”

The value of the negroes working in the fields was constantly appraised by my fellow-travellers; and it appeared that, in Texas, an able-bodied male fetched $2500, whilst a well-skilled seamstress was worth $3500.

Two of my companions served through the late severe campaign in New Mexico, but they considered forty-eight hours in a closely-packed stage a greater hardship than any of their military experiences.

We passed many cotton-fields and beautiful Indian corn, but much of the latter had been damaged by the hail.

I was told that one-third of the land formerly devoted to cotton is still sown with that article, the remainder being corn, &c[1]

We also passed through some very pretty country, full of fine post-oak and cotton trees, and we met many Mexican cotton-teams—some of the waggons with fourteen oxen or twelve mules, which were being cruelly ill-treated by their drivers.

We crossed several rivers with steep and difficult banks, and dined at a farmhouse at 2.30 P.M.

I have already discovered that, directly the bell rings, it is necessary to rush at one’s food and bolt it as quickly as possible, without any ceremony or delay, otherwise it all disappears, so rapacious and so voracious are the natives at their meals whilst travelling. Dinner, on such occasions, in no case lasts more than seven minutes.

We reached Columbus at 6 P.M., and got rid of half our passengers there. These Texan towns generally consist of one large plaça, with a well-built courthouse on one side and a hotel opposite, the other two sides being filled up with wooden stores. All their budding prosperity has been completely checked by the war; but every one anticipates a great immigration into Texas after the peace.

We crossed the Colorado river, and reached Alleyton, our destination, at 7 P.M.

This little wooden village has sprung into existence during the last three years, owing to its being the present terminus to the railroad. It was crammed full of travellers and cotton speculators; but, as an especial favour, the fat German and I were given a bed between us. I threw myself on the bed with my clothes on (bien entendu), and was fast asleep in five minutes. In the same room there were three other beds, each with two occupants.

The distance from San Antonio to Alleyton is 140 miles—time, forty-six hours.

[1] It is only in Texas that so much cotton is still grown.

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