Experience of a Confederate Chaplain at the North.
Rev. J. M. Stakes
of the 53d Georgia volunteers, publishes an interesting account of the Northern
experience of some of the Confederate Chaplains
and Surgeons left at Gettysburg
After their duties at that place were over, they were summoned before the Provost, and sent to the depot, where they expected to start for the South
, but were surprised to find themselves put on a train bound for New York.
The narrative says:
The authorities at Gotham
, when we arrived there, were like the boy who drew the elephant, and was delighted with his prize, but had no place to put it. So the Gothamite seemed to be much elated when we were ushered in the presence of the Provost Genera
; but he soon told us that he knew not why we were sent there, or what disposition to make of us. He sent us to Gen. Canby
, and he sent us to Gen. Dix
, and we thought Dix
would send us to Dixie; but he sent us to the Park Barracks
, a place which, for fifth, would shame an ordinary "pig sty." Here we remained several days, during which time we were visited by kind friends, who generously supplied us with every needful article of clothing and a few greenbacks.
He also requested the Lieutenant
in charge of us to permit us to stay at the hotel till we were sent South.
To this the young officer readily consented, and seven live rebel surgeons and two chaplains were soon known to be at large in the great metropolis.
New we were met at every turn with invitations to partake of the hospitalities of those who sympathize with our cause.
The few days we passed in this way were decidedly agreeable.
Nothing was left undone that would add to our comfort.
Gentlemen introduced us to their families, and we were made to feel truly like we were among friends.
During my stay there I discussed our national affairs with gentlemen from nearly every State, and while most of them thought we ought to have fought for our rights in the Union
, they all united in the belief that independence would yet crown our efforts.
It seemed to be the settled conviction with them that armed intervention by any foreign power would prolong the war. They argue that thousands who would not otherwise participate in the struggle will fly to arms in the event of foreign intervention.
is evidently looked upon as the first man on the continent, and they say they would have flocked to him had he raised the Stars and Stripes and struck for our rights in the Union
Many endeavored to persuade me that we ought yet to reunite with all save the New England
States; but I gave it as my opinion that we never would consent to an affiliation with any except the slave States.
When arrangements were made to send us South they gave us transportation to Baltimore
, with instructions to report to the Provost at that place.--Here we found a sottish Lieutenant
in the Provost
's office, who seemed to be as proud of his insignia as is the city dog of his master's collar.
This fellow informed us that the Provost was absent.
I handed him the instructions from Gen. Dix
, which I glanced over with an air of disgusting importance, and said: ‘"So I suppose you infernal rebels are travelling through our country free of charge and without an escort?"’ ‘"We are, sir,"’ said I, ‘"but it is unmanly in you to insult prisoners on account of the actions of your own officers.
We are gentlemen,"’ continued I, ‘"and gentlemen such as Gen. Dix
respects and treats as such."’ This was the first Yankee who had offered us an insult, and we were soon shielded from his taunts by the entrance of the Provost, who placed us under an escort for Fortress Monroe
As we steamed down the Chesapeake
on the beautiful steamer Adelaide
, lounged on her gorgeous sofas, and partook of the many delicacies which her table afforded, we little thought that our quarters would soon he exchanged for the gloomy walls of Fort Norfolk.
Fond anticipations of greeting friends and loved ones in "Dixie," together with the pleasantness of travelling on a first-class passenger steamer, caused us to forget every care and mingle with the passengers, as though we had been of like feeling and sentiment.
how vain are all human expectations.
Instead of going to City Point
we were sent to Fort Norfolk, and as the massive key was turned upon us we were politely informed that we were held as hostages for certain Federal non-combatants held by our Government.
We remained here two weeks; our fare was very good, and we were permitted to walk about the fort an hour each day. Our friends were allowed to visit us, and the officer in command, Major Murray
, treated us like gentlemen.
Here we were joined by fifty or sixty other gents of similar cloth.
Our disappointment reached its climax when orders came for us to be sent to Fort McHenry
, and had we not been ashamed to betray the confidence reposed in us by Major Mulford
in giving us the liberties of the boat, we would have taken possession of the craft and steamed for "Dixie's land."
Arrived at Fort McHenry
, we were assigned to quarters in a long warehouse-looking building, which leaked worse than an ordinary bush arbor.
There were other occupants in the house, who greatly exceeded us in number, and who disputed our right to dwell there; but being reinforced by a couple of experienced terriers and a large quantity of scalding water, we routed the enemy completely, and lived in peaceable possession of our prison home.
Here we had permission to stroll at will over about fifty acres of land, and bathe at pleasure in the placid Patacas
, which washed the fort on either side.
The ladies of Baltimore
visited us often, and gave us many tokens of their kind regards in the way of useful articles of clothing, heavy baskets of delicacies, fruits, ice cream
, &c. It is superfluous to pass eulogies upon the conduct of these angels of mercy, when their character is so well known by Southerners.
There was quite a number of our servants in the fort, who were captured at Gettysburg
, a few of whom took the oath and joined the Yankee
army, whilst most of them steadily refused to work or fight for Abraham Lincoln
of the so called United States
, It will, perhaps, be admissible here to relate a conversation which took place between Titus
, a colored man, from South Carolina
, and Brig. Gen. Morris, U. S. A.
It was as follows: Morris
, are you willing to enlist and fight for liberty under the Stars and Stripes?" Titus
--"No, sir, you may shoot me fust, and den I won't fight ginst my Government." Morris
, they are going to put you all in the army if you go South." Titus
--"Dat's jist what I want, sir." Morris
--"Don't you want a good suit of clothes?" Titus
--"Not from your Government, sir; my Government is able to give me clothes." Morris
-- "Oh, pshaw!
your Government's 'played out,' your money's worthless. " Titus
--"Dat's aliwou know about it; do money's jist as good in de Souf as 'ds in de North
, for dar ebryting high, and money plenty, here ebryting cheap, and money skace.
Nigga have a dollar in de Souf where buckra don't have a dime in de Norf.
Oh, dar man, I know you aint talking when you axin dischile to fight gin de Souf."
Their treatment to our servants is even worse than I expected, and if those who have good homes in the South
would only listen to those who are fortunate enough to escape after being in Yankee hands they will be contented to remain at home.
Lest this article should become wearisome, I will conclude it by saying that from all my observation during my Northern tour I am more fully convinced than ever that a straightforward, energetic course will bring us peace and independence, with all the blessings which usually accompany them.
Their country is full of dissensions, and desertions from their army are daily becoming more frequent.
Their army must reasonably grow weaker daily as they muster out their good troops and supply their places with negroes, or what is worse — substitutes.
The feelings of jealousy and hatred existing between the colored
troops are truly alarming.