worse off than before.”
The negro understood me. “It is very hard, massa,” said he. His voice faltered; I saw that tears were gathering in his eyes, and I rode away, as my own were growing moist and dim.
A detached house upon Gen. Walker
's plantation was in flames when I passed.
It had been set on fire by some of our soldiers, but whether accidentally or not, I did not stop to enquire.
One of the negroes had a heavy iron ring and bolt fastened to his leg. He said he had worn them for more than three months. A cavalry-man descended quietly from his horse, knocked off the fetters, fastened them to his saddle, and rode away.
“By heaven,” I heard him mutter, “I would forfeit a year's pay for the privilege of transferring these to the leg of the rascal who put them on that man!”
The Eighth brigade, Colonel Turchin
, with Simonson
's battery, did not spend much time in slumber Thursday night. After four hours rest, they recommenced their march, and reached Huntsville
at six o'clock on Friday morning.
An advance force of a hundred and fifty cavalry, together with a section of the battery, in charge of Capt. Simonson
himself, assisted by Lieut. M. Allen
, commanding the section, the whole directed by Col. Kennett
, first caught sight of Huntsville
, and the lovely cedar surrounding it. They were advancing upon the double-quick, when two locomotives, with trains attached, suddenly made their appearance upon the railroad.
They were moving in the direction of Stevenson
A shot from one of Simonson
's guns brought the first one to. The Captain
then turned to pay his respects to the second.
A shot or two induced it also to haul up. In the mean time, the engineer of the first train was quietly getting on a full head of steam, and when nobody was suspecting such a thing, he suddenly started off. The cavalry went in pursuit, and actually chased the locomotive for a distance of ten miles.
A few horsemen tried their carbines upon the second train, and an unfortunate colored person received one of the bullets in his neck.
It was said, too, by the secesh that a rebel from Corinth
, going home slightly wounded, was instantly killed.
The infantry had come up while this was going on, and Colonel Mihalotzi
, of the Twenty-fourth Illinois, sent a detachment to tear up a portion of the track in the direction of Decatur
The escape of any more trains was thus effectually prevented.
Three cavalry-men rushed into the town, found a large number of rebel soldiers sleeping in and around a number of cars, and actually made prisoners of one hundred and seventy men, including a major, six captains, and three lieutenants.
The most of these fellows belonged to the Ninth Louisiana regiment, and were on their way to join it in Virginia
The major's name was Cavanaugh
His regiment did not all reenlist when their time of service (one year) expired, and he had been home for recruits.
He had succeeded in obtaining a hundred and forty, and was taking them to the Old Dominion, to fill up the ranks of his regiment.
When he found both himself and his recruits were prisoners in the hands of the Yankees
, his mortification was visibly expressed all over his countenance.
When our troops advanced into the town, they found they had made a prize of seventeen locomotives
, (sixteen of them in fine running order,) and about a hundred and fifty cars, passenger and freight.
I shall not attempt to enumerate the other articles captured, and your readers may estimate the value of the rolling stock.
The prisoners captured are a wretched-looking set of men, and evidently belong to the lowest class of Southern society — which is, I admit, putting them down pretty low. They are nearly all sick of the business in which, they are engaged.
Many of them say they were forced to enlist; others admit that they were influenced by leaders whom they believe to be bad men; and there is scarcely one who does not regret that he was induced to take up arms against the Government
One of them told me that if he were home once more, he would die in his-tracks before he would again consent to fight against the old Union.
“I foolishly thought,” said he, “that I was fighting for my country when I obeyed the mandates of Jeff Davis
; now I see plainly that I was fighting against it.”
If these gentry are sent to your part of the country, for God's sake don't allow Northern traitors to go among them, and revive in their bosoms the dying fires of disloyalty.
Better, for their own sakes and the sake of the nation, let loose in their midst a thousand hissing vipers.
These could only kill their bodies, but the agents of Jeff Davis
in the North
, will, if they are permitted, poison their souls, and do it much more effectually than their own Southern leaders ever could.
Gen. Mitchel's thanks to his soldiers.