October 12

Rather a gloomy morning; stormed till about 9 o'clock a. m. then cleared off, but snowed this afternoon; wrote Dr. Clark. Pert didn't come; very dull.

October Twelfth

LEE

He was a foe without hate, a friend without treachery, a soldier without cruelty, and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices, a private citizen without wrong, a neighbor without reproach, a Christian without hypocrisy, and a man without guile. He was Cæsar without his ambition, Frederick without his tyranny, Napoleon without his selfishness, and Washington without his reward. He was as obedient to authority as a true king. He was as gentle as a woman in life, pure and modest as a virgin in thought, watchful as a Roman vestal in duty, submissive to law as Socrates, and grand in battle as Achilles.

Benjamin H. Hill

 

Robert E. Lee dies, 1870

Chief Justice Roger B. Taney dies, 1864

 

 

October 12, 1862

Sunday. Relay House Station, on the Northern Central R. R. Just where that is I haven't yet found out. We stood up or laid down in the street from noon yesterday until 3 a. m. this morning, when cars came and we went on board. They are box cars, no seats, but they have a roof, and that is what we most needed. We shivered and shook so our teeth chattered when we first got on board, and it was 5 a. m. before the train started. We were no longer curious to know where we were going. We were wet, cold, hungry and thirsty, and from lying on the pavements were so stiff we could hardly get on our feet. The major had to give it up—his leg was hurt worse than he thought. We are sorry not to have him along, for next to Colonel Smith, he is the most soldierly soldier in the regiment. Our two days' rations are gone and we are wondering when we will get another feed.

Noon. We are at Hanover Junction, Pa. We now feel sure we are after the rebel horse thieves, but unless we get a faster move on than this, they will get away with all the horses in the country before we get there. We are waiting for further orders from General Wool. The 144th N. Y. just stopped here, on their way to Baltimore. They are just out, and to hear them complain about being kept on the cars a whole day and night made us laugh.

5 p. m. We are full once more. Doesn't seem as if we could ever get hungry again after the feed we have just had. We are at Hanover, Pa. As the train stopped it seemed as if the whole population were standing beside the track, and nearly everyone had a basket of eatables or a pail of coffee. Men, women and children were there and they seemed to enjoy seeing us eat, even urging us to eat more, after we had stuffed ourselves, and then told us to put the rest in our haversacks. But they are terribly scared at the near approach of the rebel cavalry. We told them to fear no more. We were there, and the memory of the feast we had had would make us their special defenders. They distributed tracts among us, some of them printed sermons, and wound up by asking us to join them in singing the long-meter doxology. We not only sang it, we shouted it; each one took his own key and time, and some,—I for one,—got through in time to hear the last line from the others. We left them with cheers and blessings that drowned the noise of the train, and I prayed that if I ever got stranded it might be in Hanover.

Gettysburg, Pa. Night. The train has stopped outside the village, and a citizen says the Rebs are just out of the village on the opposite side. It is pitch dark and the orders are to show no lights and to keep very still. I have a candle and am squatted in the corner of the car trying to keep my diary going.

The officers are parading up and down along the train trying to enforce the order to be quiet. I am hovering over my candle so it won't be seen, for I must write, for fear I won't get a better chance.

October 12, 1863

Monday. Nelson's Plantation, on the Bayou Teche. Since my last writing we remained at Brashear City, eating, sleeping, playing cards and checkers, pitching quoits, running races and passing the time as best we could, until the arrival of the A. G. Brown just at night on Saturday. We went on board but did not get away until midnight. A large fire over in Berwick lit up the water almost like daylight. Captain Hoyt and Lieutenant Mathers were sent back to New Orleans on some business, otherwise our family was all together. We stopped at the mouth of the Bayou Teche until daylight and then went on as best we could. The Rebs had put every possible obstruction in the way. One tree had been fallen across it, for the Teche is narrow, in places not as wide as the A. G. Brown is long. Two old boats had been sunk in it, and these the Brown had to snare and pull around so as to get past. We arrived at Nelson's Landing about midnight. Unloaded and marched about a mile farther up-stream and pitched our tents. This Bayou Teche I am told runs through the country and comes out into the Mississippi at Plaquemine.

So far as I have seen it, it is narrow, and in many places and for long distances is covered with the leaves of some sort of weed that grows up from the bottom. Being about on the same level as the land, it is for all the world like sailing over a green field. The water shows if you look down upon it, but not as you look forward or back. It is said to be deep enough for any sort of a vessel. With all the obstructions to our passage, it was a much pleasanter one than the one we took in the Gulf of Mexico. After a late breakfast, there being nothing better to do, several of us went up the Bayou to where a lot of negroes were getting the wreck of a sunken boat out of the way. They worked from small boats, diving down and making fast to anything they could, and then with tackle hitched to a tree on shore would tear it loose and get it out of the way. One of them fell overboard and went down. Another dived for him, bringing up one foot which another in the boat took hold of, and without attempting to get his head out of water, rowed ashore with him, dragging him out on the bank by the one foot. The man was dead, but might just as well have been saved, for it was only a very few minutes from the time he went in until his one bare foot was in sight. They paid no attention to our advice or opinions of such work, and I soon found that they only understood French, and so did not know what we were yelling to them about. We got a boat and crossed to the other side. We found a used-up cane field, which was hard to get through and which seemed to have no end. When we finally did get through we found a patch of sweet potatoes. Beyond seemed to be an endless open country with groves now and then, and everywhere, as far as we could see, were droves of horses and cattle. One flock of horses spying us, came up close as if to investigate. They were small, but perfectly formed, and of almost all colors. Some were spotted, but the most were of one solid color. Whether they are real wild horses or whether they have owners, we found no one to ask. Both the horses and cattle seemed to keep in droves separate from each other.

By the time we got back we were tired and hungry as if we had been on a forced march. We got hold of a nig who understood English, and told him what we were after. An even dozen immediately enlisted, so we have made a beginning, and feel encouraged. This country is beautiful. Not exactly level and yet no hills. I suppose it might be called rolling. A good road runs a few rods from the Bayou, and along next the Bayou are large live-oaks. These are covered with moss, almost every branch having bunches hanging down just like an old man's beard. It is a curious sight to me, and I cannot say I really like it. I would give more for a good look at Bryan's big maple than all of them. Our troops are said to be in or near Vermillionville, twenty-five or more miles from here, and that a battle may be fought any day. Lieutenant Bell is going back on the Brown to-morrow, and I will wind up this epistle and send it by him. Maybe he will bring me a letter when he returns.

Cuttack, October 12, 1843

I returned to Cuttack yesterday from Midnapore. It was a most wretched journey, raining incessantly—not such mild gentle rain as you have in England, but regular blinding torrents. The roads were so desperately bad that, although I engaged two extra bearers at each stage, yet each day's journey of fifty miles took me twenty-four hours instead of fifteen. My last day's journey was from Barrapore to Cuttack—fifty miles. I started at two in the afternoon, and arrived at home at half-past two the next day.

About eight o'clock in the evening the rain came down almost in one sheet of water: the men could hardly stagger along with their burden. The rain was driven by the furious gusts of wind violently against the doors of the palanquin, but they were closed and bolted. I was smoking a cigar, and thinking about dear England, when suddenly it struck me that it was becoming very cold. I wondered at it, so closely shut up as the palanquin was. Still it became colder and colder. I was lying on my back. I laid my hand on my face—it was quite warm. I touched my chest—it was warm also. Suddenly I jumped up—it was only the side of me underneath that was cold. My trowsers, shirt, flannel waistcoat, &c., were all soaking. The rain had found its way in at the crevice between the doors, and formed a little puddle just where I was lying.

A severe cold is a very dangerous thing in this country, often bringing on jungle-fever. I first stripped off my wet clothes, then sopped up the puddle as well as I could, and stopped the leak. I then wrapped myself up in a warm blanket. After these preliminaries I got out of my canteen a small spirit-lamp and kettle, then hung them to the top of the palanquin, struck a light, and boiled some water. This I poured into a tumbler, and, adding a little brandy and a little essence of ginger, drank it off, and then composed myself to sleep. I dozed a little; awoke again; tried to go to sleep; could not; changed horses—I mean men; on again; the blanket wet through; moved the blanket so as to have a dry part next me; soon wet through again. At last the blanket was soaking; felt my clothes, which I had hung up to dry; still very wet, but they nevertheless seemed better than the soppy blanket, so I dressed again.

I dared not call the man for my patarahs, or tin boxes, and get out fresh things, for they would have been drenched in an instant. So I dressed in the wet ones; stuffed the blanket up against the leak; lighted another cigar, and puffed away until the palanquin was quite filled with smoke. This created additional warmth, helped to dry my clothes, and by its effects upon myself I have no doubt assisted in keeping off fever.

DESCRIPTION OF A PALANQUIN.

But as I live so much in my palanquin, I think I had better give a more accurate description of it than I have done. It is made of wood, painted as an English carriage, and having arms, crest, &c., if you choose. The top is covered with a white cement to prevent its leaking, and is slightly curved, so that the rain may run off. The bottom is open wicker-work, on which is laid a mattress and other cushions, covered generally with thin leather. The sides, top, &c., are lined, often with crimson silk. I have had my mattress and other cushions covered with white drill; it is much more serviceable, and will wash: my lining is of the same. The interior length of my palanquin is six feet six inches, the breadth three feet three inches, and of the same height.

The wicker-work of the bottom extends from the head to within one foot three inches of the foot; then instead of wicker-work is a wooden box, which in mine is covered with part of a leopard's skin. In it I carry a few bottles of soda-water and beer and a bottle of water. Over my feet, resting on brackets, is a box, an invention of my own, which I find most useful. It is three feet long, one foot and a quarter broad, and one foot high. In this I keep a great variety of things that I may need.

Whenever I halt I have nothing to do but lift this box out, and there is all my apparatus on the table. Most people have only a shelf, on which they place their medicine-chest, dressing-case, pistols, &c.; but I found this so inconvenient, that I resolved to have the whole in one moveable box, and I find it a great additional comfort. In the lining of the palanquin are pockets for books, &c., and stuck here and there are hooks, on which to hang a watch, &c.

I have pillows especially for my palanquin. I take a blanket and a few books, and then I can start in tolerable comfort for a four or five days' journey. There is a place outside behind for a large brass washhand-basin; in front there are two little windows, like those of a carriage, with glass and Venetian blinds; behind there is one window, and also a lamp with a glass in the back of the palanquin, so as to show its light inside.