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n a few feet of us. They must have known we were in that brake, for they lingered within hearing until nightfall when they abandoned the search. How thankfully beat our hearts as the sound of their horses' hoofs died away in the rearward distance! There was an advantage to us in what we at first so dreaded — the proximity of these men. We were thereby enabled to overhear their plans of pursuit. They agreed to set watches at certain points on the road, the river, and railroad leading to Darien. We were quite confident we had been betrayed by some cowardly prisoner, and suspected that fellow named Clinton, from Mississippi. We learned from our pursuers themselves, as they were searching for us, that this traitor of traitors gave the authorities of the prison all the information they desired, for he had played eaves-dropper more than once, rebel and prisoner as he was! He had actually mapped our proposed route, although our scheme was arranged between Collins and myself in whi
dark brow was the mind of a man, and within that slave's bosom beat a brother's heart. I could have embraced him as my father. Now, massa, said he, as we were about to separate until all true friends shall meet in heaven, now do jis as I tells you, and you'll git away. You keep dis pine-ridge straight on through massa's plantation for five mile. Dis ridge goes clean to de coast. It's ‘bout three hundred mile to de coast by de Ocmulgee river. The Ocmulgee flows into de Altamaha, and Darien is at de mouth of de Altamaha, and you'll find lots of de Yankees dar. The old man understood the times. His knowledge of the war, with all its recent and important movements, was thorough and accurate, although he was careful and somewhat reticent, even in his communications to us. In order to test his professed knowledge of us, and to ascertain all we could relative to our pursuers, we plied him with various questions. Well, uncle, said we, I suppose you know we are running from th
y-clabber, which was a welcome sight to us. During the conversation we held with these negroes, we learned that their master had gone to the war, leaving them in the charge of an overseer. We ascertained, also, that the Yankees had possession of Darien, on the coast, and that, in consequence, the slaves had been removed into the interior of Georgia. Close by there were three hundred rice-farm hands encamped, who were in a starving condition, having been driven to the interior of the State by their masters, in order to prevent confiscation, and being unable to make a living for themselves. Our humble friends informed us that if we continued straight on we would reach Darien in two days, provided we exercised due caution to avoid the patrollers, who, since our escape from Macon, had been searching for us vigilantly. The night was well nigh all spent in conversation with these slaves, and we had not got much further on our way, when the dawn broke upon us, compelling us to leave the
prayer. We were now within thirty-five miles of the coast, and here the river took a direct turn eastward, by which we knew that we were on the direct road to Darien. Two miles further on, we suddenly came upon some houses. Men and women were passing almost within hailing distance; but caution forbade us revealing ourselves,d where we were from. Collins, whose fictitious name was Compton, told them that we lived in Pulaski county, Georgia; that we had been driven by the Yankees from Darien, and were now on our way home. We were in a hurry to get there before the conscripts left for the seat of war, in order that we might go with our own boys. T with them. They soon after struck off into a by-road, and when we had gone a little further on, and thought ourselves safe, we turned our footsteps back towards Darien. Just as we turned, we were hailed by a man all clothed in rags, whose appearance indicated that he might have been hiding in the swamp for months. He quickly j
ell immediately to conversation, in the course of which I got a full insight into the real condition of affairs in the Southern Confederacy. To one of my questions, he answered: Yes, sir, the war is the cause of all our misery. You see, for instance, this region of country is adapted only to raising cotton, for the land is too light for sugar-cane or rice. The masses of the people in this particular county are employed in cutting timber, which, being floated down the Ocmulgee to Darien, is sold there, and with the proceeds are obtained the necessaries of life, flour, corn-meal, salt, &c. Well, suggested I, you rich men, at least, will not suffer. There, sir, you are much mistaken. We shall suffer heavily; for, though we have farms and plantations, yet we have not hands to work them. And another thing, perhaps, you are not aware of, is, that we have thousands of poor men who live here and there, in their pole-huts, rearing large families on the little crops of cott
Chapter 13: Classes in the Confederacy Terror of a name insurrection Suppressing a religious meeting the safe ground a sad parting why prisoners' stories differ effect of Church Division the Darien road a wealthy planter. During the day, I walked out into the pines that I might be alone with my thoughts; and there in the solitude I mused upon all the knowledge that I had gained from my host, and also from my previous experience. Oh! thought I, if our people at the Nort Northern papers which circulate in the South, and thereby bring them into trouble, I am constrained to suppress them. We remained at this house all night, and bidding our new friends farewell, started the next morning on our way. We kept the Darien road, which I could recognize by the descriptions given of it by the negroes. Our next stopping-place was far from agreeable, for every one in it was a strong secessionist-so strong indeed, that, when they found out our characters, they utterly