teenth day of July, we took our glorious Massachusetts
general by the hand, and said to him:
If you do not see us within ten days, you will know we have ‘gone up.’
“If I do not see you within that time,” he replied, “I'll demand you; and if they don't produce you, body and soul, I'll take two for one--better men than you are — and hang them higher than Haman
My hand on that.
At three o'clock on the afternoon of the same day, mounted on two raw-boned relics of Sheridan
's great raid, and armed with a letter to Jeff. Davis
, a white cambric handkerchief tied to a short stick, and an honest face — this last was the Colonel
's — we rode up to the rebel lines.
A ragged, yellow-faced boy, with a carbine in one hand, and another white handkerchief tied to another short stick in the other, came out to meet us.
“Can you tell us, my man, where to find Judge Ould
, the Exchange Commissioner
“Yas. Him and ta other 'change officers is over ter the plantation beyont Miss Grover
's. Ye'll know it by its hevina nary door nur winder [the mansion, he meant]. They's all busted in. Foller the bridle-path through the timber, and keep your rag a flyina, fur our boys is thicker 'n huckelberries in them woods, and they mought pop ye, ef they did n't seed it.”
Thanking him, we turned our horses into the “timber,” and, galloping rapidly on, soon came in sight of the deserted plantation.
Lolling on the grass, in the shade of the windowless mansion, we found the Confederate
They rose as we approached; and one of us said to the Judge
— a courteous, middle-aged gentleman, in a Panama hat, and a suit of spotless white drillings--“We are late, but it's your fault.
Your people fired at us down the river, and we had to turn back and come overland.”
“You don't suppose they saw your flag?”
“No. It was hidden by the trees; but a shot came uncomfortably near us. It struck the water, and ricochetted not three yards off. A little nearer, and it would have shortened me by a head, and the Colonel
by two feet.”
“ That would have been a sad thing for you; but a miss, you know, is as good as a mile,” said the Judge
, evidently enjoying the “joke.”
“We hear Grant
was in the boat that followed yours, and was struck while at dinner,” remarked Captain Hatch
, the Judge
's adjutant — a gentleman, and about the best-looking man in the Confederacy
“Indeed! Do you believe it?”
“I don't know, of course;” and his looks asked for an answer.
We gave none, for all such information is contraband.
We might have told him that Grant
, and Foster
examined their position from Mrs. Grover
's house — about four hundred yards distant--two hours after the rebel cannon-ball danced a break-down on the Lieutenant-General
We were then introduced to the other officials--Major Henniken
of the War Department, a young man formerly of New York, but now scorning the imputation of being a Yankee, and Mr. Charles Javins
, of the provost guard of Richmond
This latter individual was our shadow in Dixie.
He was of medium height, stoutly built, with a short, thick neck, and arms and shoulders denoting great strength.
He looked a natural-born jailer, arid much such a character as a timid man would not care to encounter, except at long range of a rifle warranted to fire twenty shots a minute,. and to hit every time.
To give us a moonlight view
of the Richmond
fortifications, the Judge
proposed to start after sundown; and as it wanted some hours of that time, we seated ourselves on the ground, and entered into conversation.
The treatment of our prisoners, the status
of black troops and non-combatants, and all the questions which have led to the suspension of exchanges, had been good-naturedly discussed, when the Captain
, looking up from one of the Northern
papers we had brought him, said:
Do you know, it mortifies me that you don't hate us as we hate you?
You kill us as Agassiz kills a fly — because you love us.
“ Of course we do. The North
is being crucified for love of the South
“If you love us so, why don't you let us go?”
asked the Judge
, rather curtly.
“ For that very reason — because we love you. If we let you go, with slavery, and your notions of ‘ empire,’ you'd run straight to barbarism and the Devil.”
“ We'd take the risk of that.
But let me tell you, if you are going to Mr. Davis
with any such ideas, you might as well turn back at once.
He can make peace on no other basis than independence.
Recognition must be the beginning, middle, arid ending of all negotiations.
Our people will accept peace on no other terms.”
“ I think you are wrong there,” said the Colonel
“When I was here a year ago, I met many of your leading men, and they all assured me they wanted peace and reunion, even at the sacrifice of slavery.
Within a week, a man you venerate and love has met me at Baltimore
, and besought me to come here, and offer Mr. Davis
peace on such conditions.”
“ That may be. Some of our old men, who are weak in the knees, may want peace on any terms; but the Southern
people will not have it without independence.
knows them, and you will find he will insist upon that.
Concede that, and we'll not quarrel about minor matters.”
“ We'll not quarrel at all. But it's sundown, and time we were ‘on to Richmond
“That's the Tribune
cry,” said the Captain
, rising; “and I hurrah for the Tribune
, for it's honest, and — I want my supper.”
We all laughed, and the Judge
ordered the horses.
As we were about to start, I said to him:
You've forgotten our parole.