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May, 1862.

May, 1

Moved to Bellefonte.

May, 2

Took the cars for Huntsville.

At Paint Rock the train was fired upon, and six or eight men wounded. As soon as it could be done, I had the train stopped, and, taking a file of soldiers, returned to the village. The telegraph line had been cut, and the wire was lying in the street. Calling the citizens together, I said to them that this bushwhacking must cease. The Federal troops had tolerated it already too long. Hereafter every time the telegraph wire was cut we would burn a house; every time a train was fired upon we should hang a man; and we would continue to do this until every house was burned and every man hanged between Decatur and Bridgeport. If they wanted to fight they should enter the army, meet us like honorable men, and not, assassin-like, fire at us from the woods and run. We proposed to hold the citizens responsible for these cowardly assaults, and if they did not drive these bushwhackers from amongst them, we should make them more uncomfortable than they would be in hell. I then set fire to the town, took three citizens with [139] me, returned to the train, and proceeded to Huntsville.

Paint Rock has long been a rendezvous for bushwhackers and bridge burners. One of the men taken is a notorious guerrilla, and was of the party that made the dash on'our wagon train at Nashville.

The week has been an active one. On last Saturday night I slept a few hours on the bridge at I)ecatur. The next night I bivouacked in a cotton field; the next I lay from midnight until four in the morning on the railroad track; the next I slept at Bridgeport on the soft side of a board, and on the return to Stevenson I did not sleep at all. My health is excellent.

May, 5

Captain Cunard was sent yesterday to Paint Rock to arrest certain parties suspected of burning bridges, tearing up the railroad track, and bushwhacking soldiers. To-day he returned with twenty-six prisoners.

General Mitchell is well pleased with my action in the Paint Rock matter. The burning of the town has created a sensation, and is spoken of approvingly by the officers and enthusiastically by the men. It is the inauguration of the true policy, and the only one that will preserve us from constant annoyance.

The General rode into our camp this evening, and made us a stirring speech, in which he dilated upon the rapidity of our movements and the invincibility of our division.

May, 8

The road to Shelbyville is unsafe for small parties. Guerrilla bands are very active. Two or [140] three of our supply trains have been captured and destroyed. Detachments are sent out every day to capture or disperse these citizen cut-throats.

May, 10

Have been appointed President of a Board of Administration for the post of Huntsville. After an ineffectual effort to get the members of the Board together, I concluded to spend a day out of camp, the first for more than six months; so I strolled over to the hotel, took a bath, ate dinner, smoked, read, and slept until supper time, dispatched that meal, and returned to my quarters in the cool of the evening.

We have in our camp a superabundance of negroes. One of these, a Georgian, belonged to a captain of rebel cavalry, and fell into our hands at Bridgeport. Since that affair he has attached himself to me. The other negroes I do not know. In fact they are too numerous to mention. Whence they came or whither they are going it is impossible to say. They lie around contentedly, and are delighted when we give them an opportunity to serve us. All the colored people of Alabama are anxious to go “wid yer and wait on you folks.” There are not fifty negroes in the South who would not risk their lives for freedom. The man who affirms that they are contented and happy, and do not desire to escape, is either a falsifier or a fool.

May, 11

Attended divine service with Captain McDougal at the Presbyterian Church. The edifice is very fine. The audience was small; the sermon tolerable. Troubles, the preacher said, were sent to discipline us. The army was of God; they should, [141] therefore, submit to it, not as slaves, but as Christians, just as they submitted to other distasteful and calamitous dispensations.

May, 12

My letters from home have fallen into the hands of John Morgan. The envelopes were picked up in the road and forwarded to me. My wife should feel encouraged. It is not every body's letters that are pounced upon at midnight, taken at the point of the bayonet, and read by the flickering light of the camp-fire.

Moved at two o'clock this afternoon. Reached Athens after nightfall, and bivouacked on the Fair Ground.

May, 13

Marched to Elk river. A great many negroes from the neighboring plantations came to see us, among them an elderly colored man, whose sanctimonious bearing indicated that he was a minister of the Gospel. The boys insisted that he should preach to them, and, after some hesitation, the old man mounted a stump, lined a hymn from memory, sang it, and then commenced his discourse. He had not proceeded very far when he uttered this sentence: “De good Lord He hab called me to preach de Gospil. Many sinners hab been wakened by my poor words to de new life. De Lord He hab been very kind to me, an' I can nebber pay Him fur all He done fur me.”

“ Never pay the Lord?” broke in the boys; “never pay the Lord? Oh! you wicked nigger! Just hear him! He says he is never going to pay the Lord!”

The preacher endeavored to explain: the kindness [142] and mercy of the Lord had been so great that it was impossible for a poor sinner to make any sufficient return; but the boys would accept no explanation. “Here,” they shouted, “is a nigger who will not pay the Lord!” and they groaned and cried, “Oh! Oh!” and swore that they never saw so wicked a man before. Fortunately for the poor colored man, a Dutchman began to interrogate him in broken English, and the two soon fell into a discussion of some point in theology, when the boys espoused the negro's side of the question, and insisted that the Dutchman was no match for him in argument. Finally, by groans and hisses, they compelled the Dutchman to abandon the controversy, leaving the colored man well pleased that he had vanquished his opponent and re-established himself in the good opinion of his hearers.

May, 14

Resumed the march at two o'clock in the morning, and proceeded to a point known as the Lower Ferry. Ascertaining here that the enemy had recrossed the Tennessee, and was pushing southward, we abandoned pursuit and turned to retrace our steps to Huntsville. Leaving the regiment in command of Colonel Keifer, I accompanied General Mitchell on the return, and reached camp a little after dark.

May, 16

Appointed Provost Marshal of the city. Have been busy hearing all sorts of complaints, signing passes for all sorts of persons, sending guards to this and that place in the city, and doing the numerous other things necessary to be done in a city under [143] martial law. Captain Mitchell and Lieutenant Wilson are my assistants, and, in fact, do most of the work. The citizens say I am the youngest Governor they ever had.

May, 17

Captain Mitchell and I were invited to a strawberry supper at Judge Lane's. Found General Mitchell and staff, Colonel Kennett, Lieutenant-Colonel Birdsall, and Captain Loomis, of the army, there. Mr.Lane and Mrs. Judge Lane, Colonel and Major Davis, and a general, whose name I can not recall, were the only citizens present. General Mitchell monopolized the conversation. He was determined to make all understand that he was the greatest of living soldiers. Had his counsel prevailed, the Confederacy would have been knocked to pieces long ago. The evening was a very pleasant one.

A few days ago we had John Morgan utterly annihilated; but he seems to have gathered up the dispersed atoms and rebuilt himself. In the destruction of our supply trains he imagines, doubtless, that he is inflicting a great injury upon our division; but he is mistaken. The bread and meat we fail to get from the loyal States are made good to us from the smokehouses and granaries of the disloyal. Our boys find Alabama hams better than Uncle Sam's sidemeat, and fresh bread better than hard crackers. So that every time this dashing cavalryman destroys a provision train, their hearts are gladdened, and they shout “Bully for Morgan!”

May, 19

Rumor says that Richmond is in the hands of our troops; and from the same source we learn that [144] a large force of the enemy is between us and Nashville. Fifteen hundred mounted men were within seventeen miles of Huntsville yesterday. A regiment with four pieces of artillery, under command of Colonel Lytle, was sent toward Fayetteville to look after them.

May, 20

The busiest time in the Provost Marshal's office is between eight o'clock in the morning and noon. Then many persons apply for passes to go outside the lines and for guards to protect property. Others come to make complaints that houses have been broken open, or that horses, dogs, and negroes, have strayed away or been stolen.

May, 23

The men of Huntsville have settled down to a patient endurance of military rule. They say but little, and treat us with all politeness. The women, however, are outspoken in their hostility, and marvelously bitter. A flag of truce came in last night from Chattanooga, and the bearers were overwhelmed with visits and favors from the ladies. When they took supper at the Huntsville Hotel, the large diningroom was crowded with fair faces and bright eyes; but the men prudently held aloof.

A day or two ago one of our Confederate prisoners died. The ladies filled the hearse to overflowing with flowers, and a large number of them accompanied the soldier to his last resting-place.

The foolish, yet absolute, devotion of the women to the Southern cause does much to keep it alive. It encourages, nay forces, the young to enter the army, and compels them to continue what the more sensible [145] Southerners know to be a hopeless struggle. But we must not judge these Huntsville women too harshly. Here are the families of many of the leading men of Alabama; of generals, colonels, majors, captains, and lieutenants in the Confederate army; of men, even, who hold cabinet positions at Richmond, and of many young men who are clerks in the departments of the rebel Government. Their wives, daughters, sisters, and sweethearts feel, doubtless, that the honor of these gentlemen, and possibly their lives, depend upon the success of the Confederacy.

To-day two young negro men from Jackson county came in with their wives. They were newly married, and taking their wedding journey. The vision of a better and higher life had lured them from the old plantation where they were born. At midnight they had stolen quietly away, plodded many weary miles on foot, confident that the rainbow and the bag of gold were in the camp of the Federal army.

May, 25

This in-door life has made me ill. I am as yellow as an orange. The doctors say I have the jaundice. [146]

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