It was of course impossible, while thus running the gauntlet, to put our hostages ashore, and I could only explain to them that they must thank their own friends for their inevitable detention.
I was by no means proud of their forlorn appearance, and besought Colonel Hawley
to take them off my hands; but he was sending no flags of truce at that time, and liked their looks no better than I did. So I took them to Port Royal
, where they were afterwards sent safely across the lines.
Our men were pleased at taking them back with us, as they had already said, regretfully, “S'pose we leave dem Secesh at Fernandina
, General Saxby
won't see 'em,” --as if they were some new natural curiosity, which indeed they were.
One soldier further suggested the expediency of keeping them permanently in camp, to be used as marks for the guns of the relieved guard every morning.
But this was rather an ebullition of fancy than a sober proposition.
Against these levities I must put a piece of more tragic eloquence, which I took down by night on the steamer's deck from the thrilling harangue of Corporal Adam Allston
, one of our most gifted prophets, whose influence over the men was unbounded.
“When I heard,” he said, “de bombshell a-screamin‘ troo de woods like de Judgment Day, I said to myself, ‘If my head was took off tonight, dey could n't put my soul in de torments, perceps [except] God was my enemy!
’ And when de rifle-bullets came whizzin‘ across de deck, I cried aloud, ‘ God help my congregation!
Boys, load and fire!’
I must pass briefly over the few remaining days of our cruise.
we met the Planter
, which had been successful on her separate expedition, and had destroyed extensive salt-works at Crooked River