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

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

15th July (Wednesday).—The hotel this morning was occupied by military, or rather by creatures in uniform. One of the sentries stopped me; and on my remonstrating to his officer, the latter blew up the sentry, and said, “You are only to stop persons in military dress—don’t you know what military dress is?” “No,” responded this efficient sentry—and I left the pair discussing the definition of a soldier. I had the greatest difficulty in getting a conveyance down to the water. I saw a stone barricade in the distance, and heard firing going on—and was not at all sorry to find myself on board the China.


During my voyage home in the China I had an opportunity of discussing with many intelligent Northern gentlemen all that I had seen in my Southern travels. We did so in a very amicable spirit, and I think they rendered justice to my wish to explain to them without exaggeration the state of feeling amongst their enemies. Although these Northerners belonged to quite the upper classes, and were not likely to be led blindly by the absurd nonsense of the sensation press at New York, yet their ignorance of the state of the case in the South was very great.

The recent successes had given them the impression that the last card of the South was played. Charleston was about to fall; Mobile, Savannah, and Wilmington would quickly follow; Lee’s army, they thought, was a disheartened, disorganised mob; Bragg’s army in a still worse condition, fleeing before Rosecrans, who would carry everything before him.

They felt confident that the fall of the Mississippian fortresses would prevent communication from one bank to the other, and that the great river would soon be open to peaceful commerce.

All these illusions have since been dispelled, but they probably still cling to the idea of the great exhaustion of the Southern personnel.

But this difficulty of recruiting the Southern armies is not so great as is generally supposed. As I have already stated, no Confederate soldier is given his discharge from the army, however badly he may be wounded; but he is employed at such labour in the public service as he may be capable of performing, and his place in the ranks is taken by a sound man hitherto exempted. The slightly wounded are cured as quickly as possible, and are sent back at once to their regiments. The women take care of this. The number actually killed, or who die of their wounds, are the only total losses to the State, and these form but a small proportion of the enormous butcher’s bills, which seem at first so very appalling.

I myself remember, with General Polk’s corps, a fine-looking man who had had both his hands blown off at the wrists by unskilful artillery-practice in one of the early battles. A currycomb and brush were fitted into his stumps, and he was engaged in grooming artillery horses with considerable skill. This man was called an hostler; and, as the war drags on, the number of these handless hostlers will increase. By degrees the clerks at the offices, the orderlies, the railway and post-office officials, and the stage-drivers, will be composed of maimed and mutilated soldiers. The number of exempted persons all over the South is still very large, and they can easily be exchanged for worn veterans. Besides this fund to draw upon, a calculation is made of the number of boys who arrive each year at the fighting age. These are all “panting for the rifle,” but have been latterly wisely forbidden the ranks until they are fit to undergo the hardships of a military life. By these means, it is the opinion of the Confederates that they can keep their armies recruited up to their present strength for several years; and, if the worst comes to the worst, they can always fall back upon their negroes as a last resort; but I do not think they contemplate such a necessity as likely to arise for a considerable time.

With respect to the supply of arms, cannon, powder, and military stores, the Confederates are under no alarm whatever. Augusta furnishes more than sufficient gunpowder; Atlanta, copper caps, &c. The Tredegar works at Richmond, and other foundries, cast more cannon than is wanted; and the Federal generals have always hitherto proved themselves the most indefatigable purveyors of artillery to the Confederate Government, for even in those actions which they claim as drawn battles or as victories, such as Corinth, Murfreesborough, and Gettysburg, they have never failed to make over cannon to the Southerners without exacting any in return.

My Northern friends on board the China spoke much and earnestly about the determination of the North to crush out the Rebellion at any sacrifice. But they did not show any disposition to fight themselves in this cause, although many of them would have made most eligible recruits; and if they had been Southerners, their female relations would have made them enter the army whether their inclinations led them that way or not.

I do not mention this difference of spirit by way of making any odious comparisons between North and South in this respect, because I feel sure that these Northern gentlemen would emulate the example of their enemy if they could foresee any danger of a Southern Butler exercising his infamous sway over Philadelphia, or of a Confederate Milroy ruling with intolerable despotism in Boston, by withholding the necessaries of life from helpless women with one hand, whilst tendering them with the other a hated and absurd oath of allegiance to a detested Government.

But the mass of respectable Northerners, though they may be willing to pay, do not very naturally feel themselves called upon to give their blood in a war of aggression, ambition, and conquest; for this war is essentially a war of conquest. If ever a nation did wage such a war, the North is now engaged, with a determination worthy of a more hopeful cause, in endeavouring to conquer the South; but the more I think of all that I have seen in the Confederate States of the devotion of the whole population, the more I feel inclined to say with General Polk—”How can you subjugate such a people as this?” and even supposing that their extermination were a feasible plan, as some Northerners have suggested, I never can believe that in the nineteenth century the civilised world will be condemned to witness the destruction of such a gallant race.

14th July (Tuesday).—At breakfast this morning two Irish waiters, seeing I was a Britisher, came up to me one after the other, and whispered at intervals in hoarse Hibernian accents—” It’s disgraceful, sir. I’ve been drafted, sir. I’m a Briton. I love my country. I love the Union Jack, sir.” I suggested an interview with Mr Archibald, but neither of them seemed to care about going to the Counsel just yet These rascals have probably been hard at work for years, voting as free and enlightened American citizens, and abusing England to their hearts’ content.

I heard every one talking of the total demoralisation of the Rebels as a certain fact, and all seemed to anticipate their approaching destruction. All this sounded very absurd to me, who had left Lee’s army four days previously as full of fight as ever—much stronger in numbers, and ten times more efficient in every military point of view, than it was when it crossed the Potomac to invade Maryland a year ago. In its own opinion, Lee’s army has not lost any of its prestige at the battle of Gettysburg, in which it most gallantly stormed strong intrenchments defended by the whole army of the Potomac, which never ventured outside its works, or approached in force within half a mile of the Confederate artillery.

The result of the battle of Gettysburg, together with the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, seems to have turned everybody’s head completely, and has deluded them with the idea of the speedy and complete subjugation of the South. I was filled with astonishment to hear people speaking in this confident manner, when one of their most prosperous States had been so recently laid under contribution as far as Harrisburg and Washington, their capital itself having just been saved by a fortunate turn of luck. Four-fifths of the Pennsylvanian spoil had safely crossed the Potomac before I left Hagerstown.

The consternation in the streets seemed to be on the increase; fires were going on in all directions, and the streets were being patrolled by large bodies of police followed by special constables, the latter bearing truncheons, but not looking very happy.

I heard a British captain making a deposition before the Consul, to the effect that the mob had got on board his vessel and cruelly beaten his coloured crew. As no British man-of-war was present, the French Admiral was appealed to, who at once requested that all British ships with coloured crews might be anchored under the guns of his frigate.

The reports of outrages, hangings, and murder, were now most alarming, and terror and anxiety were universal. All shops were shut; all carriages and omnibuses had ceased running. No coloured man or woman was visible or safe in the streets, or even in his own dwelling. Telegraphs were cut, and railroad tracks torn up. The draft was suspended, and the mob evidently had the upper hand.

The people who can’t pay $300 naturally hate being forced to fight in order to liberate the very race who they are most anxious should be slaves. It is their direct interest not only that all slaves should remain slaves, but that the free Northern negroes who compete with them for labour should be sent to the South also.

13th July (Monday).—The luxury and comfort of New York and Philadelphia strike one as extraordinary after having lately come from Charleston and Richmond. The greenbacks seem to be nearly as good as gold. The streets are as full as possible of well-dressed people, and are crowded with able-bodied civilians capable of bearing arms, who have evidently no intention of doing so. They apparently don’t feel the war at all here; and until there is a grand smash with their money, or some other catastrophe to make them feel it, I can easily imagine that they will not be anxious to make peace.

I walked the whole distance of Broadway to the Consul’s house, and nothing could exceed the apparent prosperity; the street was covered with banners and placards inviting people to enlist in various highsounding regiments. Bounties of $550 were offered, and huge pictures hung across the street, on which numbers of ragged greybacks[1] terror depicted on their features, were being pursued by the Federals.

On returning to the Fifth Avenue, I found all the shopkeepers beginning to close their stores, and I perceived by degrees that there was great alarm about the resistance to the draft which was going on this morning. On reaching the hotel I perceived a whole block of buildings on fire close by: engines were present, but were not allowed to play by the crowd. In the hotel itself, universal consternation prevailed, and an attack by the mob had been threatened. I walked about in the neighbourhood, and saw a company of soldiers on the march, who were being jeered at and hooted by small boys, and I saw a negro pursued by the crowd take refuge with the military; he was followed by loud cries of ” Down with the b——y nigger! Kill all niggers!” &c. Never having been in New York before, and being totally ignorant of the state of feeling with regard to negroes, I inquired of a bystander what the negroes had done that they should want to kill them? He replied, civilly enough—” Oh sir, they hate them here; they are the innocent cause of all these troubles.” Shortly afterwards, I saw a troop of citizen cavalry come up; the troopers were very gorgeously attired, but evidently experienced so much difficulty in sitting their horses, that they were more likely to excite laughter than any other emotion.

[1] The Northerners call the Southerners “Greybacks,” just as the latter call the former “Bluebellies,” on account of the colour of their dress.

12th July (Sunday).—The Pittsburg and Philadelphia Railway is, I believe, accounted one of the best in America, which did not prevent my spending eight hours last night off the line; but, being asleep at the time, I was unaware of the circumstance. Instead of arriving at Philadelphia at 6 A.M., we did not get there till 3 P.M. Passed Harrisburg at 9 A.M. It was full of Yankee soldiers, and has evidently not recovered from the excitement consequent upon the late invasion, one effect of which has been to prevent the cutting of the crops by the calling out of the militia.

At Philadelphia I saw a train containing one hundred and fifty Confederate prisoners, who were being stared at by a large number of the beau monde of Philadelphia. I mingled with the crowd which was chaffing them. Most of the people were good-natured, but I heard one suggestion to the effect that they should be taken to the river, “and every mother’s son of them drowned there.”

I arrived at New York at 10 P.M., and drove to the Fifth Avenue Hotel.

11th July (Saturday).—I hope I may never for my sins be again condemned to travel for thirty hours in an American stage on a used-up plank road. We changed carriages at Somerset. All my fellow-travellers were of course violent Unionists, and invariably spoke of my late friends as Rebels or Rebs. They had all got it into their heads that their Potomac army, not having been thoroughly thrashed, as it always has been hitherto, had achieved a tremendous victory; and that its new chief, General Meade, who in reality was driven into a strong position, which he had sense enough to stick to, is a wonderful strategist. They all hope that the remnants of Lee’s army will not be allowed to ESCAPE over the Potomac; whereas, when I left the army two days ago, no man in it had a thought of escaping over the Potomac, and certainly General Meade was not in a position to attempt to prevent the passage, if crossing had become necessary.

I reached Johnstown on the Pennsylvania Railway at 6 P.M., and found that town in a great state of excitement in consequence of the review of two militia companies, who were receiving garlands from the fair ladies of Johnstown in gratitude for their daring conduct in turning out to resist Lee’s invasion. Most of the men seemed to be respectable mechanics, not at all adapted for an early interview with the rebels. The garlands supplied were as big and apparently as substantial as a ship’s life-buoys, and the recipients looked particularly helpless after they had got them. Heaven help those Pennsylvanian braves if a score of Hood’s Texans had caught sight of them!

Left Johnstown by train at 7.30 P.m., and, by paying half a dollar, I secured a berth in a sleeping-car— a most admirable and ingenious Yankee notion.

10th July (Friday).—The drive from Hancock to Cumberland is a very mountainous forty-four miles—total distance from Hagerstown, sixty-six miles. We met with no further adventure on the road, although the people were very inquisitive, but I never opened my mouth. One woman in particular, who kept a toll-bar, thrust her ugly old head out of an upper window, and yelled out, ” ir they a-fixin’ for another battle out there?” jerking her head in the direction of Hagerstown. The driver replied that, although the bunch of rebels there was pretty big, yet he could not answer for their fixing arrangements, which he afterwards explained to me meant digging fortifications.

We arrived at Cumberland at 7 P.M. This is a great coal place, and a few weeks ago it was touched up by “Imboden,” who burnt a lot of coal barges, which has rendered the people rabid against the Rebs. I started by stage for Johnstown at 8.30 P.M.

9th July (Thursday).—I left Hagerstown at 8 A.M., in my conductor’s good buggy, after saying farewell to Lawley, the Austrian, and the numerous Confederate officers who came to see me off, and wish me good-luck. We passed the Confederate advanced post at about two miles from Hagerstown, and were allowed to pass on the production of General Lee’s authority. I was now fairly launched beyond the Confederate lines for the first time since I had been in America. Immediately afterwards we began to be asked all sorts of inquisitive questions about the rebels, which I left to my driver to answer. It became perfectly evident that this narrow strip of Maryland is entirely Unionist.

At about 12 o’clock we reached the top of a high hill, and halted to bait our horse at an inn called Fairview. No sooner had we descended from the buggy than about twenty rampageous Unionists appeared, who told us they had come up to get a good view of the big fight in which the G—d d—d rebels were to be all captured, or drowned in the Potomac.

My appearance evidently did not please them from the very first. With alarm I observed them talking to one another, and pointing at me. At length a particularly truculent-looking individual, with an enormous mustache, approached me, and, fixing his eyes long and steadfastly upon my trousers, he remarked, in the surliest possible tones, “Them breeches is a dd bad colour.” This he said in allusion, not to their dirty state, but to the fact of their being grey, the rebel colour. I replied to this very disagreeable assertion in as conciliating a way as I possibly could; and in answer to his question as to who I was, I said that I was an English traveller. He then said that his wife was an English lady from Preston. I next expressed my pride in being a countryman of his wife’s. He then told me in tones that admitted of no contradiction, that Preston was just forty-five miles east of London; and he afterwards launched into torrents of invectives against the rebels, who had run him, out of Virginia; and he stated his intention of killing them in great numbers to gratify his taste. With some difficulty I prevailed upon him and his rabid brethren to drink, which pacified them slightly for a time; but when the horse was brought out to be harnessed, it became evident I was not to be allowed to proceed without a row. I therefore addressed the crowd, and asked them quietly who among them wished to detain me; and I told them, at the same time, that I would not answer any questions put by those who were not persons in authority, but that I should be most happy to explain myself to any officer of the United States army. At length they allowed me to proceed, on the understanding that my buggy-driver should hand me over to General Kelly, at Hancock. The driver was provided with a letter for the General, in which I afterwards discovered that I was denounced as a spy, and “handed over to the General to be dealt with as justice to our cause demands.” We were then allowed to start, the driver being threatened with condign vengeance if he let me escape.

After we had proceeded about six miles we fell in with some Yankee cavalry, by whom we were immediately captured, and the responsibility of my custody was thus removed from my conductor’s shoulders. A cavalry soldier was put in charge of us, and we passed through the numerous Yankee outposts under the title of “Prisoners.”

The hills near Hancock were white with Yankee tents, and there were, I believe, from 8000 to 10,000 Federals there. I did not think much of the appearance of the Northern troops; they are certainly dressed in proper uniform, but their clothes are badly fitted, and they are often round-shouldered, dirty, and slovenly in appearance; in fact, bad imitations of soldiers. Now, the Confederate has no ambition to imitate the regular soldier at all; he looks the genuine rebel; but in spite of his bare feet, his ragged clothes, his old rug, and tooth-brush stuck like a rose in his button-hole,[1] he has a sort of devil-may-care, reckless, self-confident look, which is decidedly taking.

At 5 P.m. we drove up in front of the door of General Kelly’s quarters, and to my immense relief I soon discovered that he was a gentleman. I then explained to him the whole truth, concealing nothing. I said I was a British officer on leave of absence, travelling for my own instruction; that I had been all the way to Mexico, and entered the Southern States by the Rio Grande, for the express purpose of not breaking any legally established blockade. I told him I had visited all the Southern armies in Mississippi, Tennessee, Charleston, and Virginia, and seen the late campaign as General Longstreet’s guest, but had in no way entered the Confederate service. I also gave him my word that I had not got in my possession any letters, either public or private, from any person in the South to any person anywhere else. I showed him my British passport and General Lee’s pass as a British officer; and I explained that my only object in coming North was to return to England in time for the expiration of my leave; and I ended by expressing a hope that he would make my detention as short as possible.

After considering a short time, he said that he would certainly allow me to go on, but that he could not allow my driver to go back. I felt immensely relieved at the decision, but the countenance of my companion lengthened considerably. It was, however, settled that he should take me on to Cumberland, and General Kelly good-naturedly promised to do what he could for him on his return.

General Kelly then asked me in an off-hand manner whether all General Lee’s army was at Hagerstown; but I replied, laughing, “You of course understand, General, that, having got that pass from General Lee, I am bound by every principle of honour not to give you any information which can be of advantage to you.” He laughed and promised not to ask me any more questions of that sort. He then sent his aide-de-camp with me to the provost-marshal, who immediately gave me a pass for Cumberland. On my return to the General’s, I discovered the perfidious driver (that zealous Southerner a few hours previous) hard at work communicating to General Kelly all he knew, and a great deal more besides; but, from what I heard, I don’t think his information was very valuable.

I was treated by General Kelly and all his officers with the greatest good-nature and courtesy, although I had certainly come among them under circumstances suspicious, to say the least. I felt quite sorry that they should be opposed to my Southern friends, and I regretted still more that they should be obliged to serve with or under a Butler, a Milroy, or even a Hooker. I took leave of them at six o’clock; and I can truly say that the only Federal officers I have ever come in contact with were gentlemen.

We had got four miles beyond Hancock, when the tire of one of our wheels came off, and we had to stop for a night at a farmhouse. I had supper with the farmer and his labourers, who had just come in from the fields, and the supper was much superior to that which can be procured at the first hotel at Richmond. All were violent Unionists, and perfectly under the impression that the rebels were totally demoralised, and about to lay down their arms. Of course I held my tongue, and gave no one reason to suppose that I had ever been in rebeldom.

[1] This tooth-brush in the button-hole is a very common custom, and has a most quaint effect.

8th July (Wednesday).—My conductor told me he couldn’t go to-day on account of a funeral, but he promised faithfully to start to-morrow. Every one was full of forebodings as to my probable fate when I fell into Yankee clutches. In deference to their advice I took off my grey shooting-jacket, in which they said I was sure to be taken for a rebel, and I put on a black coat; but I scouted all well-meant advice as to endeavouring to disguise myself as an “American citizen,” or to conceal the exact truth in any way. I was aware that a great deal depended upon falling into the hands of a gentleman, and I did not believe these were so rare in the Northern army as the Confederates led me to suppose.

7th July (Tuesday).—Lawley, the Austrian, and I drove into Hagerstown this morning, and General Longstreet moved into a new position on the Williamsport road, which he was to occupy for the present. We got an excellent room in the Washington Hotel on producing greenbacks. Public opinion in Hagerstown seems to be pretty evenly divided between North and South, and probably accommodates itself to circumstances. For instance, yesterday the women waved their handkerchiefs when the Yankee cavalry were driven through the town, and to-day they went through the same compliment in honour of 3500 Yankee (Gettysburg) prisoners whom I saw marched through en, route for Richmond. I overheard the conversation of some Confederate soldiers about these prisoners. One remarked, with respect to the Zouaves, of whom there were a few—”Those red-breeched fellows look as if they could fight, but they don’t, though; no, not so well as the blue-bellies.”

Lawley introduced me to General Stuart in the streets of Hagerstown to-day. He is commonly called Jeb Stuart, on account of his initials; he is a good-looking, jovial character, exactly like his photographs. He has certainly accomplished wonders, and done excellent service in his peculiar style of warfare. He is a good and gallant soldier, though he sometimes incurs ridicule by his harmless affectation and peculiarities. The other day he rode through a Virginian town, his horse covered with garlands of roses. He also departs considerably from the severe simplicity of dress adopted by other Confederate generals; but no one can deny that he is the right man in the right place. On a campaign, he seems to roam over the country according to his own discretion, and always gives a good account of himself, turning up at the right moment; and hitherto he has never got himself into any serious trouble.

I rode to General Longstreet’s camp, which is about two miles in the direction of Williamsport, and consulted him about my difficulties with regard to my leave. He was most good-natured about it, and advised me under the circumstances to drive in the direction of Hancock; and, in the event of being ill-treated on my way, to insist upon being taken before the nearest U.S. officer of the highest rank, who would probably protect me. I determined to take his advice at once; so I took leave of him and of his officers. Longstreet is generally a very taciturn and undemonstrative man, but he was quite affectionate in his farewell. His last words were a hearty hope for the speedy termination of the war. All his officers were equally kind in their expressions on my taking leave, though the last sentence uttered by Latrobe was not entirely reassuring—viz., “You may take your oath he’ll be caught for a spy.”

I then rode to General Lee’s camp, and asked him for a pass to get through his lines. We had a long talk together, and he told me of the raid made by the enemy, for the express purpose of arresting his badly wounded son (a Confederate Brigadier-General), who was lying in the house of a relation in Virginia. They insisted upon carrying him off in a litter, though he had never been out of bed, and had quite recently been shot through the thigh. This seizure was evidently made for purposes of retaliation. His life has since been threatened, in the event of the South retaliating for Burnside’s alleged military murders in Kentucky. But few officers, however, speak of the Northerners with so much moderation as General Lee; his extreme amiability seems to prevent his speaking strongly against any one. I really felt quite sorry when I said good-bye to so many gentlemen from whom I had received so much disinterested kindness.

I am now about to leave the Southern States, after travelling quite alone throughout their entire length and breadth, including Texas and the trans-Mississippi country, for nearly three months and a half, during which time I have been thrown amongst all classes of the population—the highest, the lowest, and the most lawless. Although many were very sore about the conduct of England, I never received an uncivil word from anybody, but, on the contrary, I have been treated by all with more than kindness.[1] I have never met a man who was not anxious for a termination of the war; and I have never met a man, woman, or child who contemplated its termination as possible without an entire separation from the now detested Yankee. I have never been asked for alms or a gratuity by any man or woman, black or white. Every one knew who I was, and all spoke to me with the greatest confidence. I have rarely heard any person complain of the almost total ruin which has befallen so many. All are prepared to undergo still greater sacrifices,—they contemplate and prepare to receive great reverses which it is impossible to avert. They look to a successful termination of the war as certain, although few are sanguine enough to fix a speedy date for it, and nearly all bargain for its lasting at least all Lincoln’s presidency. Although I have always been with the Confederates in the time of their misfortunes, yet I never heard any person use a desponding word as to the result of the struggle. When I was in Texas and Louisiana, Banks seemed to be carrying everything before him, Grant was doing the same in Mississippi, and I certainly did not bring luck to my friends at Gettysburg. I have lived in bivouacs with all the Southern armies, which are as distinct from one another as the British is from the Austrian, and I have never once seen an instance of insubordination.

When I got back to Hagerstown, I endeavoured to make arrangements for a horse and buggy to drive through the lines. With immense difficulty I secured the services of a Mr ——, to take me to Hancock, and as much farther as I chose to go, for a dollar a mile (greenbacks). I engaged also to pay him the value of his horse and buggy, in case they should be confiscated by either side. He was evidently extremely alarmed, and I was obliged to keep him up to the mark by assurances that his horse would inevitably be seized by the Confederates, unless protected by General Lee’s pass in my possession.

[1] The only occasion on which I was roughly handled was when I had the misfortune to enter the city of Jackson, Mississippi, just as the Federals evacuated it. I do not complain of that affair, which, under the circumstances, was not to be wondered at.

6th July (Monday).—Several horses were stolen last night, mine nearly so. It is necessary to be very careful, in order to prevent this misfortune. We started at 6.30, but got on very slowly, so blocked up was the road with waggons, some of which had been captured and burnt by the enemy yesterday. It now turned out that all Ewell’s waggons escaped except thirty-eight, although, at one time, they had been all in the enemy’s hands.

At 8.30 we halted for a couple of hours, and Generals Lee, Longstreet, Hill, and Willcox had a consultation.

I spoke to about my difficulties with regard to getting home, and the necessity of doing so, owing to the approaching expiration of my leave. He told me that the army had no intention at present of retreating for good, and advised me to stop with them and see what turned up; he also said that some of the enemy’s despatches had been intercepted, in which the following words occur:—” The noble but unfortunate army of the Potomac has again been obliged to retreat before superior numbers.” I particularly observed the marching to-day of the 21st Mississippi, which was uncommonly good. This regiment all wear short round jackets, a most unusual circumstance, for they are generally unpopular in the South.

At 12 o’clock we halted again, and all set to work to eat cherries, which was the only food we got between 5 A.M. and 11 P.M.

I saw a most laughable spectacle this afternoon— viz., a negro dressed in full Yankee uniform, with a rifle at full cock, leading along a barefooted white man, with whom he had evidently changed clothes. General Longstreet stopped the pair, and asked the black man what it meant. He replied, “The two soldiers in charge of this here Yank have got drunk, so for fear he should escape I have took care of him, and brought him through that little town.” The consequential manner of the negro, and the supreme contempt with which he spoke to his prisoner, were most amusing. This little episode of a Southern slave leading a white Yankee soldier through a Northern village, alone and of his own accord, would not have been gratifying to an abolitionist. Nor would the sympathisers both in England and in the North feel encouraged if they could hear the language of detestation and contempt with which the numerous negroes with the Southern armies speak of their liberators.[1]

I saw General Hood in his carriage; he looked rather bad, and has been suffering a good deal; the doctors seem to doubt whether they will be able to save his arm. I also saw General Hampton, of the cavalry, who has been shot in the hip, and has two sabre-cuts on the head, but he was in very good spirits.

A short time before we reached Hagerstown there was some firing in front, together with an alarm that the Yankee cavalry was upon us. The ambulances were sent back; but some of the wounded jumped out, and, producing the rifles which they had not parted with, they prepared to fight. After a good deal of desultory skirmishing, we seated ourselves upon a hill overlooking Hagerstown, and saw the enemy’s cavalry driven through the town pursued by yelling Confederates. A good many Yankee prisoners now passed us; one of them, who was smoking a cigar, was a lieutenant of cavalry, dressed very smartly, and his hair brushed with the greatest care; he formed rather a contrast to his ragged escort, and to ourselves, who had not washed or shaved for ever so long.

About 7 P.m. we rode through Hagerstown, in the streets of which were several dead horses and a few dead men. After proceeding about a mile beyond the town we halted, and General Longstreet sent four cavalrymen up a lane, with directions to report everything they saw. We then dismounted and lay down. About ten minutes later (being nearly dark) we heard a sudden rush—a panic—and then a regular stampede commenced, in the midst of which I descried our four cavalry heroes crossing a, field as fast as they could gallop. All was now complete confusion;—officers mounting their horses, and pursuing those which had got loose, and soldiers climbing over fences for protection against the supposed advancing Yankees. In the middle of the din I heard an artillery officer shouting to his “cannoneers” to stand by him, and plant the guns in a proper position for enfilading the lane. I also distinguished Longstreet walking about, hustled by the excited crowd, and remarking, in angry tones, which could scarcely be heard, and to which no attention was paid, “Now, you don’t know what it is—you don’t know what it is.” Whilst the row and confusion were at their height, the object of all this alarm at length emerged from the dark lane in the shape of a domestic four-wheel carriage, with a harmless load of females. The stampede had, however, spread, increased in the rear, and caused much harm and delay.

Cavalry skirmishing went on until quite dark, a determined attack having been made by the enemy, who did his best to prevent the trains from crossing the Potomac at William sport. It resulted in the success of the Confederates; but every impartial man confesses that these cavalry fights are miserable affairs. Neither party has any idea of serious charging with the sabre. They approach one another with considerable boldness, until they get to within about forty yards, and then, at the very moment when a dash is necessary, and the sword alone should be used, they hesitate, halt, and commence a desultory fire with carbines and revolvers.

An Englishman, named Winthrop, a captain in the Confederate army, and formerly an officer in H.M.’s 22d regiment, although not in the cavalry himself, seized the colours of one of the regiments, and rode straight at the Yankees in the most gallant manner, shouting to the men to follow him. He continued to distinguish himself by leading charges until his horse was unfortunately killed. I heard his conduct on this occasion highly spoken of by all. Stuart’s cavalry can hardly be called cavalry in the European sense of the word; but, on the other hand, the country in which they are accustomed to operate is not adapted for cavalry.

—— was forced at last to give up wearing even his Austrian forage-cap; for the last two days soldiers on the line of march had been visiting his ambulance in great numbers, under the impression (encouraged by the driver) that he was a Yankee general. The idea now was that the army would remain some days in or near its present position until the arrival of the ammunition from Winchester.

[1] From what I have seen of the Southern negroes, I am of opinion that the Confederates could, if they chose, convert a great number into soldiers; and from the affection which undoubtedly exists as a general rule between the slaves and their masters, I think that they would prove more efficient than black troops under any other circumstances. But I do not imagine that such an experiment will be tried, except as a very last resort, partly on account of the great value of the negroes, and partly because the Southerners consider it improper to introduce such an element on a large scale into civilised warfare. Any person who has seen negro features convulsed with rage, may form a slight estimate of what the result would be of arming a vast number of blacks, rousing their passions, and then allowing them free scope.