When the train reached Xenia
, it was detained by some accident more than an hour.
Imagine his anxiety, as soldier after soldier would pass through the train, for fear that when the sentinel passed his round at two o'clock their absence might be discovered.
The train was due in Cincinnati
at six o'clock. This was the hour at which they were turned out of their cells, and of course their escape would be then discovered.
In a few moments after it would be known all over the country.
The train, having been detained at Xenia
, was running very rapidly to make up the time.
It was already past six o'clock. The General said to Captain Hines
: “It's after six o'clock; if we go to the depot we are dead men. Now or never.”
They went to the rear and put on the brakes.
Off he went, and fell heels over head in the mud. Another severe turn of the brake, and the General
He was more successful, and lighted on his feet.
There were some soldiers near, who remarked, “What in the h — l do you mean by jumping off the cars here?”
The General replied: “What in the d — l is the use of my going into town when I live here; and, besides, what business is it of yours?”
They went immediately to the river.
They found a skiff, but no oars.
Soon a little boy came over, and appeared to be waiting.
“What are you waiting for?”
said the General
“I am waiting for my load.”
“What is the price of a load?”
“Well, as we are tired and hungry, we will give you the two dollars, and you can put us over.”
So over he took them.
“Where does Miss
“Just a short distance from here.”
“Will you show me her house?”
The house was reached, a fine breakfast was soon obtained, money and a horse furnished, a good woman's prayer bestowed, and off he went.
From there, forward through Kentucky
, every body vied with each other as to who should show him the most attention — even to the negroes; and young ladies of refinement begged the honor to cook his meals.
He remained in Kentucky
some days, feeling perfectly safe, and sending into Louisville
for many little things he wanted.
Went to Bardstown
, and found a Federal regiment had. just arrived there, looking for him. Remained here and about for three or four days, and then struck out for Dixie; sometimes disguising himself as a Government cattle-contractor, and buying a large lot of cattle; at other times, a quartermaster, until he got to the Tennessee River
Here he found all means of transportation destroyed, and the bank strongly guarded; but with the assistance of about thirty others, who had recognized him and joined him in spite of his remonstrances, he succeeded in making a raft, and he and Captain Hines
His escort, with heroic self-sacrifice, refused to cross until he was safely over.
He then hired a negro to get his horse over, paving him twenty dollars for it. The river was so high that the horse came near drowning, and after more than one hour's struggling with the stream was pulled out so exhausted as scarcely to be able to stand.
The General threw a blanket on him and commenced to walk him, when suddenly, he says, he was seized with a presentiment that he would be attacked, and remarking to Captain Hines
, “We will be attacked in twenty minutes,” commenced saddling his horse.
He had hardly tied his girth, when “Bang!
went the Minie balls.
He bounced his horse, and the noble animal, appearing to be inspired with new vigor, bounded off like a deer up the mountain.
The last he saw of his poor fellows on the opposite side, they were disappearing up the river bank, fired upon by ac whole regiment of Yankees.
By this time it was dark, and also raining.
He knew that a perfect cordon of pickets would surround the foot of the mountain, and if he remained there until morning he would be lost.
So he determined to run the gauntlet at once, and commenced to descend.
As he neared the foot, leading his horse, he came almost in personal contact with a picket.
His first impulse was to kill him, but finding him asleep, he determined to let him sleep on. He made his way to the house of a Union man that he knew lived near there, and went up and passed himself off as Captain Quartermaster
's regiment, who was on his way to Athens, Tenn.
, to procure supplies of sugar and coffee for the Union
people of the country.
The lady, who appeared to be asleep while this interview was taking place with her husband, at the mention of sugar and coffee, jumped out of bed in her night-clothes, and said: “Thank God for that; for we an't seen any rale coffee up here for God knows how long!”
She was so delighted at the prospect, that she made up a fire and cooked them a good supper.
Supper being over, the General
remarked that he understood some rebels had “tried to cross the river this afternoon.”
“Yes,” said the woman, “but our men killed some un um, and driv the rest back.”
“Now,” said the General
, “I know that; but didn't some of them get over?”
“Yes,” was her reply; “but they are on the mountain, and can't get down without being killed, as every road is stopped up.”
He then said to her: “It is very important for me to get to Athens
by to-morrow night, or I may lose that sugar and coffee; and I am afraid to go down any of these roads for fear my own men will kill me.”
The fear of losing that sugar and coffee brought her again to an accommodating mood, and she replied: “Why, Paul
, can't you show the Captain
through our farm that road down by the field?”
The General says: “Of course, Paul
, you can do it; and as the night is very cold I will give you ten dollars (in gold) to help you along.”
The gold, and the prospect of sugar and coffee, was too much for any poor man's nerves, and he yielded, and getting on a horse, he took them seven miles to the big road.
From this time forward he had a series of adventures and escapes, all very wonderful, until he got near another river in Tennessee
, when he