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.

May 24, 2013

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

24th May (Sunday).—We reached Meridian at 7.30 A.M., with sound limbs, and only five hours late.

We left for Mobile at 9 A.M., and arrived there at 7.15 P.M. This part of the line was in very good order.

We were delayed a short time owing to a “difficulty” which had occurred in the up-train. The difficulty was this. The engineer had shot a passenger, and then unhitched his engine, cut the telegraph, and bolted up the line, leaving his train planted on a single track. He had allowed our train to pass by shunting himself, until we had done so without any suspicion. The news of this occurrence caused really hardly any excitement amongst my fellow-travellers; but I heard one man remark, that “it was mighty mean to leave a train to be run into like that.” We avoided this catastrophe by singular good fortune.[1]

The universal practice of carrying arms in the South is undoubtedly the cause of occasional loss of life, and is much to be regretted; but, on the other hand, this custom renders altercations and quarrels of very rare occurrence, for people are naturally careful what they say when a bullet may be the probable reply.

By the intercession of Captain Brown, I was allowed to travel in the ladies’ car. It was cleaner and more convenient, barring the squalling of the numerous children, who were terrified into good behaviour by threats from their negro nurses of being given to the Yankees.

I put up at the principal hotel at Mobile—viz., the “Battlehouse.” The living appeared to be very good by comparison, and cost $8 a-day. In consequence of the fabulous value of boots, they must not be left outside the door of one’s room, from danger of annexation by a needy and unscrupulous warrior.

[1] I cut this out of a Mobile paper two days after:— “attempt To Commit Murder.—We learn that while the uptrain on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad was near Beaver Meadow, one of the employees, named Thomas Fitzgerald, went into one of the passenger cars and shot Lieutenant H. A. Knowles with a pistol, the ball entering his left shoulder, going out at the back of his neck, making a very dangerous wound. Fitzgerald then uncoupled the locomotive from the train and started off. When a few miles above Beaver Meadows he stopped and cut the telegraph wires, and then proceeded up the road. When near Lauderdale station he came in collision with the down-train, smashing the engine, and doing considerable damage to several of the cars.2 It is thought he there took to the woods; at any rate he has made good his escape so far, as nothing of him has yet been heard. The shooting, as we are informed, was that of revenge. It will be remembered that a few months ago Knowles and a brother of Thomas Fitzgerald, named Jack, had a renconter at Enterprise about a lady, and during which Knowles killed Jack Fitzgerald; afterwards it is stated that Thomas threatened to revenge the death of his brother; so on Sunday morning Knowles was on the train, as stated, going up to Enterprise to stand his trial. Thomas learning that he was on the train, hunted him up and shot him. Knowles, we learn, is now lying in a very critical condition.”

2 This is a mistake

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