Statement of a Confederate prisoner — a Correction.
Near Charlottesville, Nov. 25, 1861.
On my return from the West
, a few days since, I found my absence and delay had produced reports of my being a prisoner among the Yankees
, and in justice to Gen. Rosecrans
and his subordinate officer, I should explain my visit and detention within his lines.
Col. C. Q. Tompkins
, (my wife's brother in-law,) resided two miles east of Gauley Bridge
, and having raised several regiments in the Kanawha
region, was well known as a ‘"rebel"’ officer, and left his family, servants and farm in August to the courtesies of civilized warfare.
They were nobly protected by Gen. Cox
, and soon after Gen. Rosecrans
) reached there after his retreat from Sewell mountain
; he promised her to go under a flag of truce to our lines on her way to Richmond
, and on her return home-ward, I accompanied her, intending to go as far as permitted by the enemy under a flag of truce, and to her home, if allowed, to advise with her of her future movements, and to adjust the damages to crops, fences, stock, &c., by the enemy.
On the arrival of our escort (of fifteen mounted men) at the enemy's pickets, I was permitted to go in with Mrs.
T. to the first camp, when she was escorted directly on home, but I was retained and introduced by the General
to one of his Colonels
) who politely requested me to say I would not absent myself from their encampment, and treated me in the kindest manner, as did his Lieutenant Colonel
, and entertained me for a day, each indulging in free speech and our own ‘"peculiar"’ views.
In this time Gen
. R. was conferred with about me by this General, when he informed me Gen.
R. had sent a squad of his body guard for me and I proceeded to his headquarters, and in a few minutes satisfied him we would not harm each other, or his cause by my giving information that would be detrimental to it, and I was escorted to Mrs.
T. 's house.
In a day or two I could and was about to leave under an escort and flag of truce, when the firing of several days along the lines, chiefly cannonading, and promising something serious on the premises, delayed me from day to day for eleven days; meantime I made a settlement with the proper officers for damages and forage in the most equitable spirit on their part, there being no malicious damage done, though low and revengeful mutterings had been often heard of from the irresponsible men.
In the midst of this feeling the commissioned officers, particularly Generals Cox
, could not have done more to make Mrs
. T.'s annoyances as light as such surroundings would allow.
I saw much of Gen.
R. during my stay, talked with him freely of our troubles, and I take pleasure in saying I rarely ever met with a more unassuming, kind-hearted and benevolent man, one well suited to the unnatural task of winning back a down-trodden people, if their stupidity will permit it to be done by force of arms.
He is courteous and kind; though apparently confiding, he is not the man to lose a chance of gaining an item of information, or of withholding from others that that might benefit them at his risk, or the cause he strictly but faithfully represents.
My business and other intercourse with all I met was highly satisfactory, though we differed much, particularly of the length of the war. They hope for a ‘"short war,"’ which I assured them would only be by letting us alone.
They have the numbers and equipments, we have the brave hearts and cause on our side, and need not fear the result.--This much I should have said to show that I was not unfairly dealt with, but in good faith and kindness; and must ask those who reported me a prisoner now to release me. as I am, and at home.
J. W. Ficklin