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[143]

The prisoners were divided in January, 1865, I think, one portion remaining in the fort, the other being taken to Hilton Head, but for what purpose we were not informed.

The retaliatory expedition south terminated on the 4th day of March, 1865. On that day we were taken aboard the steamer Illinois, which had been used as an emigrant ship before the war. Our treatment on the return ship was quite in contrast with the voyage down. The prisoners were furnished with rooms, and were allowed the privilege of the vessel, so to speak. We were guarded, of course, but by soldiers, not ‘100 day’ men. The Illinois touched at Hilton Head and took aboard the prisoners confined there. We were told that the Federal authorities considered that we had been punished enough, and that orders had been issued for our exchange at Charleston, S. C. On reaching the harbor we were informed that General Hardee, who had been in command at Charleston for some time, had just evacuated the city and was retreating before the advancing army of General Sherman. It was then said we would be exchanged at Wilmington, N. C. When we reached there, General Butler's army on transports, with a fleet of war vessels, were making preparations to storm Fort Fisher, and we were again disappointed. The Illinois was then ordered to Fort Monroe, with orders, we were told, to proceed up James River to the regular place of exchange, and to exchange us there. On arriving at Fort Monroe, our vessel steamed on up to Norfolk, and anchored off the city about the middle of an afternoon, and remained there until the next morning. The people of Norfolk heard that the prisoners were aboard a vessel in the river, and not having seen a Confederate soldier since the capture of that city by the Federals, thousands of the citizens came down to the wharfs to see us. We were not allowed to go ashore, nor were we in speaking distance, and all that we could do was to give each other friendly greeting by the waving of hats and handkerchiefs. We arose early the next morning with light hearts and joyous expectation of being exchanged on the James, and of landing in dear old Richmond that day, but, instead, we were on the very eve of our most distressing and heart-breaking disappointment. About ten o'clock the Illinois weighed anchor, and with every one on deck, steamed down the river, and it was not long before we came in sight of the mouth of the James. It soon became obvious that the vessel was not steering for the James, at least we thought it was not, and all eyes were upon the prow, and the gravest apprehensions were excited in our minds. Lieutenant Maury, of the old United States Marine Service, was one


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