previous next
[10]

A Yankee in Dixie.

by Corporal Purdum.
I will endeavor to give a short account of what I saw and heard while in the hands of the rebels, beginning with my capture when I was first introduced to the inside of the great Southern humbug.

It was on the evening of the 20th of September, 1863, that myself, in company with a number of others from the 33d and other regiments, was taken prisoner by a part of Longstreet's corps. We were taken a short distance to the rear of their first line, and camped for the night. The rebs used us very well at first, and were very civil and polite. At daylight on Monday morning we commenced our pilgrimage south in the direction of Ringgold, where we arrived about 2 o'clock P. M., and were brought up in front of the Provost Marshal, surrounded by his numerous clerks, and our names were taken, which business occupied about two hours. This being done we were started forward again, bound for Tunnel Hill Station, which place we arrived at about 9 o'clock at night, and were turned into a field to remain the rest of the night. We were very tired and hungry, having marched twenty-two miles and had no rations. We lay down to rest ourselves and get some sleep, but were called up at 2 o'clock to draw some rations, (if it could be called such.) They consisted of a little meal and bacon, which was so strong the boys said it could almost walk alone. After disposing of our meal as best we could, some making mush in tin cups, some ash cakes, and some, who were fortunate enough to get ovens, made something resembling bread. They then brought us up in line, preparatory to taking Our rubber blankets, knapsacks, and canteens from us; but as soon as the boys found out what was to be done, we commenced to tear everything to pieces that we could not sell; so they got but few things from us; and by the time they were done the place had the appearance of an old deserted camp, as strips of blankets, knapsacks, and broken canteens were strewn all over the ground, for we were determined that the rebs should not be benefited by them. Here we expected to get on the cars, but were disappointed, and started on foot for Dalton, seven miles distant from Tunnel Hill; and the road being very dusty, and we not being in the best of humor after having our things taken from us, we struck out almost on a double-quick in order to tire out the guards, and several times we were stopped for them to rest and get to their places.

On this trip I stopped at a house to get some bread, and had to pay one dollar for three small biscuits; but the money being of but little value, I paid it with a good grace, and went on my way, rejoicing that my lot was not permanently cast in the land of cotton and starvation. On arriving at Dalton we again drew rations of flour and meat, and after getting our supper — or rather partaking of a mixture of dough, flour, and tainted bacon — we were marched through the town, as we thought, to get on the cars; but I guess it was done in order that the citizens might satisfy their curiosity by seeing the “Yankees,” as we were taken back to the same place and kept till morning. Then they put us on the cars and started for Atlanta. On the way we were subject to a great many insults, not only from the men, but the women. They came out as we passed, and threw clubs and stones at us, and did everything they could to express their hatred of the “Yankees;” but they soon got tired, for the boys were not in the humor to be outdone by these so-called Southern ladies, and paid them back in their own coin, till they would go back into their houses, or silently look on and wonder at the impudence the “Yankees” had to insult them.

Arriving at Atlanta we were met by crowds of men, women, and children, both white and black, and of all ages, from old grayheaded men and women down to the little urchins that could scarcely walk — all gazing with the greatest eagerness to get a sight of us, to see if we did really look like human beings. Many appeared surprised at seeing us, and I could hear them saying, “Is them Yankees?” One old woman came running out and asked me if we were really Yankees. I told her we were, “but as we had come from the West, and were younger ones than those in the East, our horns had not yet appeared.” This answer seemed to satisfy her, for she went off and said no more about Yankees. In every direction we saw the young negroes and white children running about hallooing, “Yanks, Yanks!” and the scene was quite amusing to behold.

Leaving the depot we were taken to the rear of the town and put in a lot which had the appearance of having been used for a hog lot, and left to spend the night as best we could, which was none the pleasantest, I can assure you. The next day we were formed into companies of one hundred each, our names again taken, and we marched into the barracks to spend the night. Here they took our woollen blankets and pocket knives from us, but they got but few of the latter, for we concealed them. There we got five days rations of hard bread and meat, which was to last us till we got to Richmond.

After leaving Atlanta we made but few stops till we got to Richmond. We passed through Augusta, formerly the capital of Georgia. It had the appearance of once being a beautiful and prosperous city; it is situated in a fine country on the west side of the Savannah River, though like all other towns of the South it is behind the cities of the North about a half century in civilization. The next place of any importance we came to was Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, which is near the centre of the State, but in a very poor country and among hills, so that a person, to view the place, must go through it. Leaving this specimen of Southern cities, we went south till we came to Branchville, forty-five miles from Charleston. Here we struck the Raleigh and North Carolina Railroad, and were soon in North Carolina. Arriving at Raleigh, the capital, we went into camp for a while.

There are a great many Union people in Raleigh, but they have to be very cautious, as they are closely watched by the military authorities. North Carolina is a better country than either South Carolina or Georgia; it looks more like the North; but in South Carolina the soil is the poorest that I have seen in any place. In some parts of the State they have tried to raise grain, but it has been almost a complete failure. What little corn I saw was very poor, it being so thin over the field that I could almost count the stalks as we passed in the cars. Their farming implements are of a very poor

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Yanks (2)
Purdum (1)
Longstreet (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
September 20th, 1863 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: