Anchored at 8.30 P. M., three miles from the mouth of the Rio Grande
, or Rio Bravo
del Norte, which is, I believe, its more correct name, in the midst of about seventy merchant vessels.
2d April, 1863.
and I left the Immortalite
, in her cutter, at 10 A. M., and crossed the bar in fine style.
The cutter was steered by Mr. Johnston
, the master, and having a fair wind, we passed in like a flash of lightning, and landed at the miserable village of Bagdad
, on the Mexican
bank of the Rio Grande
The bar was luckily in capital order-3 1/2 feet of water, and smooth.
It is often impassable for ten or twelve days together: the depth of water varying from 2 to 5 feet. It is very dangerous, from the heavy surf and under-current; sharks also abound.
Boats are frequently capsized in crossing it, and the Orlando
lost a man on it about a month ago.
Seventy vessels are constantly at anchor outside the bar; their cotton cargoes being brought to them, with very great delays, by two small steamers from Bagdad
These steamers draw only 3 feet of water, and realize an enormous profit.
consists of a few miserable wooden shanties,
which have sprung into existence since the war began.
For an immense distance endless bales of cotton are to be seen.
Immediately we landed, McCarthy
was greeted by his brother merchants.
He introduced me to Mr. Ituria
, a Mexican, who promised to take me in his buggy to Brownsville
, on the Texan
bank of the river opposite Matamoros
was to follow in the evening to Matamoros
The Rio Grande
is very tortuous and shallow; the distance by river to Matamoros
is sixty-five miles, and it is navigated by steamers, which sometimes perform the trip in twelve hours, but more often take twenty-four, so constantly do they get aground.
The distance from Bagdad
by land is thirty-five miles; on the Texan
side to Brownsville
, twenty-six miles.
I crossed the river from Bagdad
with Mr. Ituria
, at 11 o'clock; and as I had no pass, I was taken before half-a-dozen Confederate officers, who were seated round a fire contemplating a tin of potatoes.
These officers belonged to Duffs
being my Texan's partner). Their dress consisted simply of flannel shirts, very ancient trousers, jack-boots with enormous spurs, and black felt hats, ornamented with the “lone star of Texas
They looked rough and dirty, but were extremely civil to me.
The captain was rather a boaster, and kept on
remarking, “We've given 'em h — ll on the Mississippi
, h — l on the Sabine
” (pronounced Sabeen), “and h — l in various other places.”
He explained to me that he couldn't cross the river to see McCarthy
, as he with some of his men had made a raid over there three weeks ago, and carried away some “renegadoes,” one of whom, named Mongomery, they had left
on the road to Brownsville
; by the smiles of the other officers, I could easily guess that something very disagreeable must have happened to Mongomery.
He introduced me to a skipper who had just run his schooner, laden with cotton, from Galveston
, and who was much elated in consequence.
The cotton had cost 6 cents a pound in Galveston
, and is worth 36 here.
and I left for Brownsville
at noon. A buggy is a light gig on four high wheels.
The road is a natural one--the country quite flat, and much covered with mosquite-trees, very like pepper-trees.
Every person we met carried a six-shooter, although it is very seldom necessary to use them.
After we had proceeded about nine miles we met General Bee
, who commands the troops at Brownsville
He was travelling to Boca del Rio
in an ambulance,1
with his quartermaster-general, Major Russell
I gave him my letter of introduction to General Magruder
, and told him who I was.
He thereupon descended from
his ambulance, and regaled me with beef and beer in the open.
He is brother to the General Bee
who was killed at Manasas.
We talked politics and fraternized very amicably for more than an hour.
He said the Mongomery affair was against his sanction and he was sorry for it. He said that Davis
, another renegade, would also have been put to death, had it not been for the intercession of his wife.
had restored Davis
to the Mexicans.
Half an hour after parting company with General Bee
, we came to the spot where Mongomery had been left
; and sure enough, about two hundred yards to the left of the road, we found him.
He had been slightly buried, but his head and arms were above the ground, his arms tied together, the rope still round his neck, but part of it still dangling from quite a small mosquite-tree.
Dogs or wolves had probably scraped the earth from the body, and there was no flesh on the bones.
I obtained this my first experience of Lynch
law within three hours of landing in America
I understand that this Mongomery was a man of very bad character, and that, confiding in the neutrality of the Mexican
soil, he was in the habit of calling the Confederates
all sorts of insulting epithets from
the Bagdad bank of the river; and a party of his “renegadoes” had also crossed over and killed some unarmed cotton teamsters, which had roused the fury of the Confederates
About three miles beyond this we came to Colonel Duffs
He is a fine looking, handsome Scotchman, and received me with much hospitality.
His regiment onsisted of newly raised volunteersa very fine body of young men, who were drilling in squads.
They were dressed in every variety of costume, many of them without coats, but all wore the high black felt hat. Notwithstanding the peculiarity of their attire, there was nothing ridiculous or contemptible in the appearance of these men, who all looked thoroughly like “business.”
told me that many of the privates owned vast tracts of country, with above a hundred slaves, and were extremely well of. They were all most civil to me.
Their horses were rather raw-boned animals, but hardy and fast.
The saddles they used were nearly like the Mexican
confessed that the Mongomery affair was wrong, but he added that his boys “meant well
We reached Brownsville
at 5.30 P. M., and Mr. Ituria
kindly insisted on my sleeping at his house, instead of going to the crowded hotel.
3d April, 1863 (good Friday).
At 8 A. M. I got a military
pass to cross the Rio Grande
, which I presented to the sentry, who then allowed me to cross in the ferry-boat.
Carriages are not permitted to run on Good Friday in Mexico
, so I had a hot dusty walk of more than a mile into Matamoros
, the acting British Consul, and Mr. Behnsen
, his partner, invited me to live at the Consulate during my stay at Matamoros
, and I accepted their offer with much gratitude.
I was introduced to Mr. Colville
, a Manchester man; to Mr. Maloney
, one of the principal merchants; to Mr. Bennet
, an Englishman, one of the owners of the Peterhoff
, who seemed rather elated than otherwise when he heard of the capture of his vessel, as he said the case was such a gross one that our government would be obliged to take it up. I was also presented to the gobernador, rather a rough.
After dining with Mr. Zorn
I walked back to the Rio Grande
, which I was allowed to cross on presenting Mr. Colville
's pass to the Mexican
soldiers, and I slept at Mr. Ituria
is a straggling town of about 3,000 inhabitants; most of its houses are wooden ones, and its streets are long, broad, and straight.
There are about 4,000 troops under General Bee
in its immediate vicinity.
Its prosperity was much injured when Matamoros
was declared a free port.
After crossing the Rio Grande
, a wide dusty road, about a mile in length, leads to Matamoros
, which is a Mexican city of about 9,000 inhabitants.
Its houses are not much better than those at Brownsville
, and they bear many marks of the numerous revolutions which are continually taking place there.
Even the British Consulate
is riddled with the bullets firedin 1861-2.
look very much like their Indian forefathers, their faces being extremely dark, and their hair black and straight.
They wear hats with the most enormous brims, and delight in covering their jackets and leather breeches with embroidery.
Some of the women are rather good-looking, but they plaster their heads with grease, and paint their faces too much.
Their dress is rather like the Andalusian.
When I went to the cathedral, I found it crammed with kneeling women; an effigy of our Saviour was being taken down from the cross and put into a golden coffin, the priest haranguing all the time about His sufferings, and all the women howling most dismally as if they were being beaten.
is now infested with numbers of Jews, whose industry spoils the trade of the established merchants, to the great rage of the latter.
It suffers much from drought, and there had been no rain to speak of for eleven months.
I am told that it is a common thing in Mexico
the diligence to arrive at its destination with the blinds down.
This is a sure sign that the travellers, both male and female, have been stripped by robbers nearly to the skin.
A certain quantity of clothing is then, as a matter of course, thrown in at the window, to enable them to descend.
and Mr. Maloney
told me they had seen this happen several times; and Mr. Oetling
declared that he himself, with three ladies, arrived at the city of Mexico
in this predicament.
4th April, 1863 (Saturday).
I crossed the river at 9 A. M., and got a carriage at the Mexican
side to take my baggage and myself to the Consulate at Matamoros
The driver ill-treated his half-starved animals most cruelly.
are even worse than the Spaniards in this respect.
I called on Mr. Oetling
, the Prussian Consul
, who is one of the richest and most prosperous merchants in Matamoros
, and a very nice fellow.
After dinner We went to a fandango
, or open-air fete.
About 1500 people were gambling, and dancing bad imitations of European
5th April, 1863 (Sunday).
, or Don Pablo as he is called here, Her Majesty's acting Vice-Consul
, is a quaint and most good-natured little man — a Prussian by birth.
He is overwhelmed by the sudden
importance he has acquired from his office, and by the amount of work (for which he gets no pay) entailed by it,--the office of British Consul having been a comparative sinecure before the war.
is head of the firm.
The principal place of business is at San Luis Potosi
,a considerable city in the interior of Mexico
All these foreign merchants complain bitterly of the persecutions and extortion they have to endure from the Government
, which are, doubtless, most annoying; but nevertheless they appear to fatten on the Mexican
I crossed to Brownsville
to see General Bee
, but he had not returned from Boca del Rio
, I dined with Mr. Oetling
We were about fourteen at dinner, principally Germans, a very merry party.
is supposed to have made a million of dollars for his firm, by bold cotton speculations, since the war.
We all went to the theatre afterwards.
The piece was an attack upon the French
and upon Southern institutions.
6th April, 1863 (Monday).
and Mr. Colville
left for Bagdad
this morning, in a very swell ambulance drawn by four gay mules.
At noon I crossed to Brownsville
, and visited Captain Lynch
, a quartermaster, who broke open a great box, and presented me with a Confederate felt hat to
travel in. He then took me to the garrison, and introduced me to Colonel Buchel
of the 3d Texas regiment, who is by birth a German, but had served in the French
army; and he prepared cocktailsin the most scientific manner.
I returned to Matamoros
at 2.30 P. M.
and Mr. Anderson
(the paymaster) arrived from Bagdad
in a most miserable vehicle, at 4 P. M. They were a mass of dust, and had been seven hours on the road, after having been very nearly capsized on the bar.
There was a great firing of guns and squibs in the afternoon, in consequence of the news of a total defeat of the French
, with a loss of 8,000 prisoners and 70 pieces of cannon.
Don Pablo, who had innocently hoisted his British flag in honor of Captain Hancock
, was accused by his brother merchants of making a demonstration against the French
After dinner we called on Mr. Maloney
, whose house is gorgeously furnished, and who has a pretty wife.
7th April, 1863 (Tuesday).
sent us his carriage to conduct Captain Hancock
, Mr. Anderson
, and myself to Brownsville
We first called on Colonels Luckett
; the former is a handsome man, a doctor by profession,
well informed and agreeable, but most bitter against the Yankees
We sat for an hour and a half talking with these officers and drinking endless cocktails, which were rather good, and required five or six different liquids to make them.
We then adjourned to General Bee
's, with whom we had another long talk, and with whom we discussed more cocktails.
At the General
's we were introduced to a welldressed good-looking Englishman, Mr.
--, who, however, announced to us that he had abjured his nationality until Great Britain
rendered justice to the South
Two years since, this individual had his house burnt down; and a few days ago, happening to hear that one of the incendiaries was on-the Mexican
bank of the river, boasting of the exploit, he rowed himself across, shot his man, and then rowed back.
I was told afterwards that, notwithstanding the sentiments he had given out before us, Mr.
is a stanch Britisher, always ready to produce his sixshooter at a moment's notice, at any insult to the Queen
or to England
We were afterwards presented to--, rather a sinister-looking party, with long yellow hair down to
This is the man who is supposed to have hanged Mongomery.
We were treated by all the officers with the greatest consideration, and conducted to the place or embarkation with much ceremony.
declared I should not leave Brownsville
until General Magruder
He is expected every day.
afterwards told us that these officers, having given up every thing for their country, were many of them in great poverty.
He doubted whether ----had a second pair of boots in the world; but he added that, to do honor to British officers, they would scour Brownsville
for the materials for cocktails.
At 3 P. M. we dined with Mr. Maloney
, who is one of the principal and most enterprising British merchants at Matamoros
, and enjoyed his hospitality till 9.30.
His wine was good, and he made us drink a good deal of it. Mr. Oetling
was there, and his stories of highway robberies, and of his journeys en chemise
, were most amusing.
At 10 P. P Mr. Oetling
conducted us to the grand fandango given in honor of the reported victory over the French
A Mexican fandango resembles a French ducasse
, with the additional excitement of gambling.
It commences at 9.30, and continues till daylight.
The scene is lit up by numerous paper lanterns of various colors.
A number of benches are placed so as to form a large quare, in the centre of which the dancing goes on, the men and women gravely smoking all the time.
Outside the benches is the promenade bounded by the gambling-tables and drinking-booths.
On this occasion there must have been thirty or forty gambling-tables, some of the smaller ones presided over by old women, and others by small boys.
is the favorite game, and the smallest silver coin
can be staked, or a handful of doubloons.
Most of these tables were patronized by crowds of all classes intent on gambling, with grave, serious faces under their enormous hats.
They never moved a muscle, whether they won or lost.
Although the number of people at these fandangos is very great, yet the whole affair is conducted with an order and regularity not to be equalled in an assembly of a much higher class in Europe
If there ever is a row, it is invariably caused by Texans from Brownsville
These turbulent spirits are at once seized and cooled in the calaboose.
8th April, 1863 (Wednesday).
Poor Don Pablo was “taken ill” at breakfast, and was obliged to go to bed. We were all much distressed at his illness, which was brought on by over-anxiety connected with his official duties; and the way he is bothered by
English and “Blue-nose” 3
skippers is enough to try any one.
and Mr. Colville
returned from Bagdad
this afternoon, much disgusted with the attractions of that city.
's orderly was assaulted in Matamoros
yesterday by a renegado with a six-shooter.
This circumstance prevented the General
from coming to Matamoros
as he had intended.
At 5 P. M. Captain Hancock
and I crossed over to Brownsville
, and were conducted in a very smart ambulance to General Bee
's quarters, and afterwards to see a dress parade of the 3d Texas infantry.
is the working man
of the corps, as he is a professional soldier.
The men were well clothed, though great variety existed in their uniforms.
Some companies wore blue, some gray, some had French kepis
, others wide-awakes and Mexican
They were a fine body of men, and really drilled uncommonly well.
They went through a sort of guard-mounting parade in a most creditable manner.
About a hundred out of a thousand were conscripts.4
After the parade, we adjourned to Colonel Luckett
's to drink prosperity to the 3d regiment.
We afterwards had a very agreeable dinner with General Bee
; Colonels Luckett
The latter is a regular soldier of fortune.
He served in the French
armies, as also in the Carlist and the Mexican
wars, and I was told he had been a principal in many affairs of honor; but he is a quiet and unassuming little man, and although a sincere Southerner, is not nearly so violent against the Yankees
At 10 P. M. Captain Hancock
and myself went to a ball given by the authorities of the “Heroica y invicta ciudad de Matamoros
” (as they choose to call it), in honor of the French
and Colonel Luckett
also went to this fete, the invitation being the first civility they had received since the violation of the Mexican
soil in the DavisMon-gomery affair.
They were dressed in plain clothes, and carried pistols concealed in case of accidents.
We all drove together from Brownsville
to the Consulate, and entered the ball-room en masse
The outside of the municipal hall was lit up with some splendor, and it was graced by a big placard, on which was written the amiable sentiment, “Muera Napoleon-viva Mejico
” Semisuccess-ful squibs and crackers were let off at intervals.
In the square also was a triumphal arch, with an inscription
to the effect that “the effete nations of Europe
I made great friends with the gobernador and administrador, who endeavored to entice me into dancing, but I excused myself by saying that Europeans were unable to dance in the graceful Mexican
was much horrified when this greasy-faced gobernador (who keeps a small shop) stated his intention of visiting the Immortalite
with six of his friends, and sleeping on board for a night or two.
The dances were a sort of slow valse, and between the dances the girls were planted up against the wall, and not allowed to be spoken to by any one.
They were mostly a plain-headed, badly-painted lot, and ridiculously dressed.
9th April, 1863 (Thursday).
and Mr. Anderson
left for Bagdad
in Mr. Behnsen
's carriage at noon.
I crossed over to Brownsville
at 11.30, and dined with Colonels Luckett
, and Duff
, at about one o'clock. As we were all colonels, and as every one called the other colonel tout court
, it was difficult to make out which was meant.
They were obliged to confess that Brownsville
was about the rowdiest town of Texas
, which was the most lawless State in the Confederacy
; but they declared they had never seen an inoffensive man subjected to insult
or annoyance, although the shooting-down and stringing — up systems are much in vogue, being almost a necessity in a thinly-populated State, much frequented by desperadoes driven away from more civilized countries.
gave me a letter to General Van Dorn
, whom they consider the beau ideal
of a cavalry soldier.
They said from time immemorial the Yankees
had been despised by the Southerners, as a race inferior to themselves in courage and in honorable sentiments.
At 3 P. M. Colonel Buchel
and I rode to Colonel Duff
's camp, distant about thirteen miles. I was given a Mexican saddle, in which one is forced to sit almost in a standing position.
The stirrups are very long, and right underneath you, which throws back the feet.
's regiment is called the Partisan Rangers.
Although a fine lot of men, they don't look well at a foot parade, on account of the small amount of drill they have undergone, and the extreme disorder of their clothing.
They are armed with carbines and six-shooters.
I saw some men come in from a scouting expedition against the Indians, 300 miles off. They told me they were usually in the habit of scalping an Indian when they caught him, and that they never spared one, as they were such an untamable and ferocious
Another habit which they have learned from the Indians is, to squat on their heels in a most peculiar manner.
It has an absurd and extraordinary effect to see a quantity of them so squatting in a row or in a circle.
The regiment had been employed in quelling a counter-revolution of Unionists
Nothing could exceed the rancor with which they spoke of these renegadoes, as they called them, who were principally Germans.
When I suggested to some of the Texans
that they might as well bury the body of Mongomery a little better, they did not at all agree with me, but said it ought not to have been buried at all, but left hanging as a warning to other evil-doers.
With regard to the contentment of their slaves, Colonel Duff
pointed out a good number they had with them, who had only to cross the river for freedom if they wished it.
and I slept in Colonel Duff
's tent, and at night we were serenaded
. The officers and men really sang uncommonly well, and they finished with “God save the Queen
comes from Perth
He was one of the leading characters in the secession of Texas
; and he said his brother was a banker in Dunkeld.
10th April, 1863 (Friday).
We roused up at daylight,
and soon afterwards Colonel Duff
paraded some of his best men, to show off the Texan
horsemanship, of which they are very proud.
I saw them lasso cattle, and catch them by the tail at full gallop, and throw them by slewing them around.
This is called tailing.
They pick small objects off the ground when at full tilt, and, in their peculiar fashion, are beautiful riders; but they confessed to me they could not ride in an English saddle, and Colonel Duff
told me that they could not jump a fence at all. They were all extremely anxious to hear what I thought of the performance, and their thorough good opinion of themselves was most amusing.
At 9 o'clock Colonel Buchel
and I rode back to Brownsville
; but as we lost our way twice, and were enveloped in clouds of dust, it was not a very satisfactory ride.
Poor Captain Hancock
must be luxuriating at Bagdad
; for with this wind the bar must be impassable to the boldest mariner.
In the evening, a Mr.--, a Texan Unionist, or renegado, gave us his sentiments at the Consulate, and drank a deal of brandy.
He finished, however, by the toast, “Them as wants to fight, let 'em fight-i don't.”
11th April, 1863 (Saturday).
-- , the Unionist, came to me this morning, and said, in a contrite manner, “I hope, Kernel, that in the fames of brandy
I didn't say any thing offensive last night.”
I assured him that he hadn't. I have now become comparatively accustomed and reconciled to the necessity of shaking hands and drinking brandy with every one.5
The ambulance returned from Bagdad
had managed to cross the bar in Mr. Oetling
's steamer or lighter, but was very nearly capsized.
I went to a grand supper, given by Mr. Oetling
in honor of Mr. Hill
's departure for the city of Mexico
This, it appears, is the custom of the country.
12th April, 1863 (Sunday).
I took an affectionate leave of Don Pablo, Behnsen
& Co., all of whom were in rather weak health on account of last night's supper.
The excellent Maloney
insisted on providing me with preserved meats and brandy for my arduous journey through Texas
I feel extremely grateful for the kindness of all these gentlemen, who rendered my stay in Matamoros
The hotel would have been intolerable.
I crossed to Brownsville
at 3 P. M., where I was hospitably received by my friend Ituria
, who confesses to having made a deal of money lately by cotton speculations.
I attended evening parade, and
saw General Bee
, Colonels Luckett
, and --. The latter (who hanged Mongomery) improves on acquaintance.
took me for a drive in his ambulance, and introduced me to Major Leon Smith
, who captured the Harriet Lane
The latter pressed me most vehemently to wait until General Magruder
's arrival, and he promised, if I did so, that I should be sent to San Antonio
in a first-rate ambulance.
Major Leon Smith
is a seafaring man by profession, and was put by General Magruder
in command of one of the small steamers which captured the Harriet Lane
, the crews of the steamers being composed of Texan cavalry soldiers.
He told me that the resistance offered after boarding was feeble; and he declared that, had not the remainder of the Yankee vessels escaped unfairly under flag of truce, they would likewise have been taken.
After the Harriet Lane
had been captured, she was fired into by the other ships; and Major Smith
told me that, his blood being up, he sent the ex-master
of the Harriet Lane
to Commodore Renshaw
, with a message that, unless the firing was stopped, he would massacREE
the captured crew.
After hearing this, Commodore Renshaw
blew up his ship, with himself in her, after having given an order to the remainder, sauve qui peut
13th April, 1863 (Monday).
I breakfasted with General Bee
, and took leave of all my Brownsville
is to give me four times the value of my gold in Confederate notes.6
We left Brownsville
for San Antonio
at 11 A. M. Our vehicle was a roomy, but rather overloaded, fourwheel carriage, with a canvas roof, and four mules.
, there was a third passenger, in the shape of a young merchant of the Hebrew persuasion.
Two horses were to join us, to help us through the deep sand.
The country, on leaving Brownsville
, is quite flat, the road, a natural one, sandy and very dusty, and there are many small trees, principally mosquites.
After we had proceeded seven miles, we halted to water the mules.
At 2 P. M. a new character appeared upon the scene, in the shape of an elderly, rough-faced, dirty-looking man, who rode up, mounted on a sorry nag. To my surprise he was addressed by McCarthy
with the title of “Judge
,” and asked what he had done with our other horse.
replied that it had already broken down, and had been left behind.
informs me that this worthy really is a magistrate or sort of judge in his own district; but he
now appears in the capacity of assistant mule-driver, and is to make himself generally useful.
I could not help feeling immensely amused at this specimen of a Texan judge.
We started again about 3 P. M. and soon emerged from the mosquite bushes into an open prairie eight miles long, quite desolate, and producing nothing but a sort of rush; after which we entered a chaparral, or thick covert of mosquite-trees and high prickly-pears.
These border the track, and are covered with bits of cotton torn from the endless trains of cotton wagons.
We met several of these wagons.
Generally there were ten oxen or six mules to a wagon carrying ten bales, but in deep sand, more animals are necessary.
They journey very slowly towards Brownsville
, from places in the interior of Texas
at least five hundred miles distant. Want of water and other causes make the drivers and animals undergo much hardship.
rides on in front of us on his “Rosinante,” to encourage the mules.
His back view reminds one in a ludicrous manner of the pictures of Dr. Syntax
, our portly driver, cheers his animals by the continual repetition of the sentence, “Get up, now, you great long-eared G-d d-d son of a --.”
At 5 P. M. we reached a well, with a farm or ranch close to it. Here we halted for the night.
A cotton train was encamped close to us, and a lugubrious
half-naked teamster informed us that three of his oxen had been stolen last night.
In order to make a fire, we were forced to enter the chaparral for wood, and in doing so, we ran many prickles into our legs, which caused us great annoyance afterwards, as they fester, if not immediately pulled out.
The water at this well was very salt, and made very indifferent coffee.
called it the “meanest halting-place we shall have.”
At 8 P. M. McCarthy
spread a bullock-rug on the sand near the carriage, on which we should have slept very comfortably, had it not been for the prickles, the activity of many fleas, and the incursions of wild hogs.
and the Judge
, with much presence of mind, had encamped seventy yards off, and left to us the duty of driving away these hogs.
I was twice awoke by one of these unclean animals breathing in my face.
We did about twenty-one miles to-day.
14th April, 1863 (Tuesday).
-When we roused up at 4 A. M. we found our clothes saturated with the heavy dew; also that, notwithstanding our exertions, the hogs had devoured the greatest part of our pet kid, our only fresh meat.
After feeding our mules upon the Indian
corn we had brought with us, and drinking a little more saltwater
coffee, the Judge
“hitched in,” and we got under way at 5.30 A. M. The country just the same as yesterday — a dead level of sand, mosquite-trees, and prickly-pears.
At 7.30 A. M. we reached “Leatham
's ranch,” and watered our mules.
As the water was tolerable, we refilled our water-barrels.
I also washed my face, during which operation Mr. Sargent
expressed great astonishment, not unmingled with contempt.
's we met a wealthy Texan speculator and contractor, called Major
or Judge Hart
I find that our Judge
is also an M. P., and that, in his capacity as a member of the Texan
legislature, he is entitled to be styled the Honorable
At 9 A. M. we halted in the middle of a prairie, on which there — was a little grass for the mules, and we prepared to eat. In the midst of our cooking, two deer came up quite close to us, and could easily have been killed with rifles.
We saw quantities of rat-ranches, which are big sort of mole-hills, composed of cow-dung, sticks, and earth, built by the rats.
, our conductor, is a very rough customer — a fat, middle-aged man, who never opens his mouth without an oath, strictly American in its character.
He and the Judge
are always snarling at one another, and both are much addicted to liquor.
We live principally on bacon and coffee, but as the
water and the bacon are both very salt, this is very inconvenient.
We have, however, got some claret, and plenty of brandy.
During the mid-day halts, Mr. Sargent
is in the habit of cooling himself by removing his trousers (or pants), and, having gorged himself, he lies down and issues his edicts to the Judge
as to the treatment or the mules.
At 2.30 the M. P. hitched in again, and at 2.45 we reached a salt-water arm of the sea called the “Aroyo
,” about eighty yards broad, which we crossed in a ferry-boat.
Half an hour later we “struck water” again, which, being superior to Leatham
's, we filled up.
We are continually passing cotton trains going to Brownsville
, also government wagons with stores for the interior.
Near every well is a small farm or ranch, a miserable little wooden edifice surrounded by a little cultivation.
The natives all speak Spanish, and wear the Mexican
is very proud of his knowledge of the country, in spite of which he is often out in his calculations.
The different tracks are so similar to one another, they are easily mistaken.
At 4.45 P. M. we halted at a much better place than yesterday.
We are obliged to halt where a little grass can be found for our mules.
Soon after we had unpacked for the night, six
Texan Rangers, of “Wood
's” regiment, rode up to us. They were very picturesque fellows; tall, thin, and ragged, but quite gentlemanlike in their manners.
We are always to sleep in the open until we arrive at San Antonio
, and I find my Turkish lantern most useful at night.7
15th April, 1863 (Wednesday).
I slept well last night in spite of the ticks and fleas, and we started at 5.30 P. M. After passing a dead rattlesnake eight feet long, we reached water at 7 A. M.
At 9 A. M. we espied the cavalcade of General Magruder
passing us by a parallel track about half a mile distant.
and I jumped out of the carriage, and I ran across the prairie to cut him off, which I just succeeded in doing by borrowing the spare horse of the last man in the train.
I galloped up to the front, and found the General
riding with a lady who was introduced to me as Mrs.
--, an undeniably pretty woman, wife to an officer on Magruder
's staff, and she is naturally the object of intense attention to all the good-looking officers who accompany the General
through this desert.
, who commands in Texas
, is a fine soldierlike man, of about fifty-five, with broad
shoulders, a florid complexion, and bright eyes.
He wears his whiskers and mustaches in the English
fashion, and he was dressed in the Confederate
He was kind enough to beg that I would turn back and accompany him in his tour through Texas
He had heard of my arrival, and was fully determined I should do this.
He asked after several officers of my regiment whom he had known when he was on the Canadian
He is aVirginian, a great talker, and has always been a great ally of English officers.
He insisted that McCarthy
and I should turn and dine with him, promising to provide us with horses to catch up Mr. Sargent
After we had agreed to do this, I had a long and agreeable conversation with the General
, who spoke of the Puritans with intense disgust, and of the first importation of them as “that pestiferous crew of the Mayflower
;” but he is by no means rancorous against individual Yankees.
He spoke very favorably of McClellan
, whom he knew to be a gentleman, clever, and personally brave, though he might lack moral courage to face responsibility.
had commanded the Confederate
troops at Yorktown
which opposed McClellan
He told me the different dodges he had resorted to, to blind and deceive the latter as to his (Magruder
's) strength; and he spoke of the intense relief and amusement with
which he had at length seen McClellan
with his magnificent army begin to break ground before miserable earthworks, defended only by 8,000 men. Hooker
was in his regiment, and was “essentially a mean man and a liar.”
he spoke in terms of the highest admiration.
was an artilleryman, and has been a good deal in Europe
; and having been much stationed on the Canadian
frontier, he became acquainted with many British officers, particularly those in the 7th Hussars and Guards.
He had gained much credit from his recent successes at Galveston
and Sabine Pass
, in which he had the temerity to attack heavily-armed vessels of war with wretched river steamers manned by Texan cavalrymen.
His principal reason for visiting Brownsville
was to settle about the cotton trade.
He had issued an edict that half the value of cotton exported must be imported in goods for the benefit of the country (government stores). The President had condemned this order as illegal and despotic.
The officers on Magruder
's Staff are a very goodlooking, gentlemanlike set of men. Their names are-Major Pendleton
, Major Wray
, Captain De Ponte
, Captain Alston
, Captain Turner
, Lieutenant-Colonel McNeil
, Captain Dwyer
, Dr. Benien
, Lieutenant Stanard
, Lieutenant Yancy
, and Major Magruder
The latter is nephew to the General
, and is a particularly good-looking young fellow.
They all live with their chief on an extremely agreeable footing, and form a very pleasant society.
At dinner I was put in the post of honor, which is always fought for with much acrimony-viz., the right of Mrs.
After dinner we had numerous songs.
Both the General
and his nephew sang; so also did Captain Alston
, whose corpulent frame, however, was too much for the feeble camp-stool, which caused his sudden disappearance in the midst of a song with a loud crash.
played the fiddle very well, and an aged and slightly elevated militia general brewed the punch and made several “elegant” speeches.
The latter was a rough-faced old hero, and gloried in the name of McGuffin
On these festive occasions General Magruder
wears a red woollen cap, and fills the president's chair with great aptitude.
It was 11.30 before I could tear myself away from this agreeable party; but at length I effected my exit amidst a profusion of kind expressions, and laden with heaps of letters of introduction.
16th April, 1863 (Thursday).
Now our troubles commenced.
Seated in Mexican
saddles, and mounted on raw-boned mustangs, whose energy had been a good deal impaired by a month's steady travelling on bad food, McCarthy
and I left the hospitable messtent
about midnight, and started in search of Mr. Sargent
and his vehicle.
We were under the guidance of two Texan Rangers.
About daylight we hove in sight of “Los Animos,” a desolate farm-house, in the neighborhood of which Mr. Sargent
was supposed to be encamped; but nowhere could we find any traces of him.
We had now reached the confines of a dreary region, sixty miles in extent, called “The sands,” in comparison with which the prairie and chaparral were luxurious.
The sand being deep and the wind high, we could not trace the carriage; but we soon acquired a certainty that our perfidious Jehu had decamped, leaving us behind.
We floundered about in the sand, cursing our bad luck, cursing Mr. Sargent
, and even the good Magruder
, as the indirect cause of our wretchedness.
Our situation, indeed, was sufficiently deplorable.
We were without food or water in the midst of a desert: so were our horses, which were nearly done up. Our bones ached from the Mexican
saddles; and, to complete our misery, the two Rangers began to turn restive and talk of returning with the horses.
At this, the climax of our misfortunes, I luckily hit upon a Mexican, who gave us intelligence of our carriage; and with renewed spirits, but very groggy horses, we gave chase.
But never did Mr. Sargent
's mules walk at such a pace; and it was 9 A. M. before we overtook them.
My animal had been twice on his head, and McCarthy
was green in the face with fatigue and rage.
received us with the greatest affability, and we were sensible enough not to quarrel with him, although McCarthy
had made many allusions as to the advisability of shooting him.
We had been nine and a half hours in the saddle, and were a good deal exhausted.
Our sulky Texan guides were appeased with bacon, coffee, and $5 in coin.
We halted till 2 P. M., and then renewed our struggle through the deep sandy wilderness; but though the services of the Judge
's horse were put into requisition, we couldn't progress faster than two miles an hour.
Mule driving is an art of itself, and Mr. Sargent
is justly considered a professor
He is always yelling-generally imprecations of a serio-comic character.
He rarely flogs his mules; but when one of them rouses his indignation by extraordinary laziness, he roars out, “Come here, Judge
, with a big club, and give him h-ll.”
While the animal is receiving such discipline as comes up to the Judge
's idea of the infernal regions, Mr. Sargent
generally remarks, “I wish you was Uncle Abe, I'd make you move, you G — d d-n son of a ----.”
His idea of
perfect happiness seems to be to have Messrs. Lincoln
in the shafts.
Mules travel much better when other mules are in front of them: and another dodge to which Mr. Sargent
continually resorts is, to beat the top of the carriage and kick the foot-board, which makes a noise, and gratifies the mules quite as much as licking them.
accounts for his humanity by saying, “It's the worst plan in the world licking niggers or mules, because the more you licks ‘em, the more they wants it.”
We reached or “struck” water at 5.30 P. M. ; but, in spite of its good reputation, it was so salt as to be scarcely drinkable.
A number of cotton wagons, and three carriages belonging to Mr. Ward
, were also encamped with us.
We have only made sixteen miles to-day.
17th April, 1863 (Friday).
Having spent last night in a Mexican saddle, our bullock-rug in the sand appeared to me a most luxurious bed.
We hitched in at 5 A. M., and struck water at 9 A. M., which, though muddy in appearance, was not so bad to drink.
I walked ahead with the Judge
, who, when sober, is a well-informed and sensible man. Mr.Sargent
and I are great friends, and, rough as he is, we get on capitally together.
A Mr. Ward
, with three vehicles — a rival of Mr.
's — is travelling in our company.
He drove his buggy against a tree and knocked its top off, to the intense delight of the latter.
We breakfasted under difficulties.
The wind being high, it drove up the sand in clouds and spoiled our food.
Our travelling companion, Mr.
---- , is a poor little weakly Israelite, but very inoffensive, although he speaks with a horrible Yankee twang, which Mr. Sargent
and the Judge
are singularly free from.
We went on again at 2 P. M. I had a long talk with a big mulatto slave woman, who was driving one of Ward
She told me she had been raised in Tennessee
, and that three years ago she had been taken from her mistress for a bad debt, to their mutual sorrow.
“Both,” she said, “cried bitterly at parting.”
She doesn't like San Antonio
at all, “too much hanging and murdering for me,” she said.
She had seen a man hanged in the middle of the day, just in front of her door.
bought two chickens and some eggs at a ranch, but one of the chickens got up a tree, and was caught and eaten by the Ward
Our camp to-night looks very pretty by the light of the fires.
18th April, 1863 (Saturday).
At daylight we discovered, to our horror, that three of our mules were absent;
but after an hour's search they were brought back in triumph by the Judge
This delayed our start till 6.30 A. M.
I walked ahead again with the Judge
, who explained to me that he was a “senator,” or member of the Upper House
-“just like your House of Lords,” he said.
He gets $5 a day whilst sitting, and is elected for four years.8
We struck water at 8.30 A. M., and bought a lamb for a dollar.
We also bought some beef, which in this country is dried in strips by the sun, after being cut off the bullock, and it keeps good for any length of time.
To cook it the strips are thrown for a few minutes on hot embers.
One of our mules was kicked last night.
rubbed the wound with brandy, which did it much good.
Soon after leaving this well, Mr. Sargent
discovered that, by following the track of Mr. Ward
's wagons, he had lost the way. He swore dreadfully, and solaced himself with so much gin, that when we arrived at Sulphur Creek
at 12.30, both he and the Judge
were, by their own confession, quite tight
We halted, ate some salt meat, and bathed in this creek, which is about forty yards broad and three feet deep.
's extreme “tightness” caused him to fall asleep on the box when we started again, but the more seasoned Judge
drove the mules.
The signs of getting out of the sands now began to be apparent; and at 5 P. M. we were able to halt at a very decent place with grass, but no
We suffered here for want of water, our stock being very nearly expended.
, who was now comparatively sober.
killed the sheep most scientifically at 5.30 P. M.; and at 6.30 we were actually devouring it, and found it very good.
cooked it by the simple process of stewing junks of it in a frying-pan, but we had only just enough water to do this.
19th April, 1863 (Sunday).
At 1 A. M. this morning our slumbers on the bullock-rug were disturbed by a sudden and most violent thunder-storm.
and I had only just time to rush into the carriage, and hustle our traps underneath it, when the rain began to descend in torrents.
We got inside with the little Jew (who was much alarmed by the thunder); whilst Mr. Sargent
and the Judge
The rain lasted two hours; and at daylight we were able to refresh ourselves by drinking the water from the puddles, and effect a start.
But fate seemed adverse to our progress.
sooner had we escaped from the sand than we fell into the mud, which was still worse.
We toiled on till 11.30 A. M., at which hour we reached “King's Ranch
,” which for several days I had heard spoken of as a sort of Elysium, marking as it does the termination of the sands, and the commencement of comparative civilization.
We halted in front of the house, and after cooking and eating, I walked up to the “ranch,” which is a comfortable, well-furnished wooden building.
and Mrs. King
had gone to Brownsville
; but we were received by Mrs. Bee
, the wife of the Brownsville general, who had heard I was on the road.
She is a nice lively little woman, a red-hot Southerner, glorying in the facts that she has no Northern relations or friends, and that she is a member of the Church of England.
first came to Texas
as a steamboat captain, but now owns an immense tract of country, with 16,000 head of cattle, situated, however, in a wild and almost uninhabited district.
King's Ranch is distant from Brownsville
only 125 miles, and we have been six days in reaching it.
After drying our clothes and our food after the rain of last night, we started again at 2.30 P. M.
We now entered a boundless and most fertile
prairie, upon which, as far as the eye could reach, cattle were feeding.
Bulls and cows, horses and mares, came to stare at us as we passed.
They all seemed sleek and in good condition, yet they get nothing but what they can pick up on the prairie.
I saw a man on horseback kill a rabbit with his revolver.
I also saw a scorpion for the first time.
We halted at 5.30 P. M., and had to make our fire principally of cow-dung, as wood is very scarce on this prairie.
We gave up the Judge
's horse at King's Ranch.
The lawgiver now rides on the box with Mr. Sargent
20th April, 1863 (Monday).
I slept well last night in spite of the numerous prairie-wolves which surrounded us, making a most dismal noise.
The Jew was ill again, but both Mr. Sargent
and the Judge
were very kind to him; so also was McCarthy
, who declared that a person incapable of protecting himself, and sickly, such as this little Jew, is always sure of kind treatment and compassion, even from the wildest Texans
We started at 5 A. M., and had to get through some dreadful mud--Mr. Sargent
in an awful bad humor, and using terrific language.
We were much delayed by this unfortunate rain,
which had converted a good road into a quagmire.
We detected a rattlesnake crawling along this morning, but there are not nearly so many of them in this country as there used to be.
We halted at 9 A. M
., and, to make a fire for cooking, we set a rat-ranch alight, which answered very well; but one big rat, annoyed by our proceedings, emerged hastily from his den, and very nearly jumped into the frying-pan.
Two Texan Rangers, belonging to Taylor
's regiment, rode up to us whilst we were at breakfast.
These Rangers all wear the most enormous spurs I ever saw.
We resumed sour journey at 12.30, and reached a creek9
called “Agua Dulce” at 2 P. M. McCarthy
and I got out before crossing, to forage at some huts close by. We got two dozen eggs and some lard; but, on returning to the road, we found that Mr. Sargent
had pursued his usual plan of leaving us in the lurch.
I luckily was able to get hold of a Mexican boy, and rode across the creek en croupe
dismounted a negro, and so got over.
We halted at 5 P. M.
After dark McCarthy
crossed the prairie to visit
some friends who were encamped half a mile distant.
He lost his way in returning, and wandered about for several hours.
, with great presence of mind, kept the fire up, and he found us at last.
The heat from nine to two is pretty severe; but in Texas
there is generally a cool sea-breeze, which Makes it bearable.
21st April, 1863 (Tuesday).
We started at 5 A. M., and reached a hamlet called “Casa Blanca
” at 6.
We procured a kid, some Indian corn, and two fowls in this neighborhood.
We had now quitted the flat country, and entered an undulating or “rolling” country, full of live oaks of very respectable size, and we had also got out of the mud.
and the Judge
got drunk again about 8 A. M., which, however, had a beneficial effect upon the speed.
We descended the hills at a terrific pace --or, as Mr. Sargent
expressed it, “Going like h-ll a-beating tan bark
We “nooned it” at a small creek; and after unhitching, Mr. Sargent
and the Judge
had a row with one another, after which Mr. Sargent
killed and cooked the goat, using my knife for these operations.
With all his faults he certainly is a capital butcher, cook, and mule-driver.
He takes great care of his animals, and is careful to inform us that the increased
pace we have been going at is not attributable to gin.
He was very complimentary to me, because I acted as assistant cook and butcher.
's party passed us about 1 P. M. The front wheels of his buggy having now smashed, it is hitched in rear of one of the wagons.
We made a pretty good afternoon's drive through a wood of post oaks, where we saw another rattlesnake, which we tried to shoot.
We halted at Spring creek
at 6.30 P. M.; water rather brackish, and no grass for the mules.
gave us some of his experiences as a filibuster.
He declares that a well-cooked polecat is as good to eat as a pig, and that stewed rattlesnake is not so bad as might be supposed.
call the Mexicans “greasers,” the latter retort by the name “gringo.”
We are now living luxuriously upon eggs and goat's flesh; and I think we have made about thirtytwo miles to-day.
22d April, 1863 (Wednesday).
We got under weigh at 5 A. M., the mules looking rather mean for want of grass.
At 8 A. M. we reached the Nueces river
, the banks of which are very steep, and are bordered with a beautiful belt of live-oak trees, covered with mustang grapes.
On the other side of the Nueces
,” a miserable settlement, consisting of about twenty wooden huts.
We bought some butter there, and caught up Ward
The women at Oakville
were most anxious to buy snuff.
It appears that the Texan
females are in the habit of dipping snuffwhich means, putting it into their mouths instead of their noses.
They rub it against their teeth with a blunted stick.
We reached grass about 10 A. M., and “nooned it,” the weather being very trying-very sultry, without sun or wind.
We hitched in at 1.15-Ward
's wagons in our front, and a Frenchman
's four-horse team in our rear.
At 4 P. M. we reached the “Weedy,” a creek which, to our sorrow, was perfectly dry. We drove on till 7 P. M., and halted at some good grass.
There being a report of water in the neighborhood, Mr. Sargent
, the Judge
, and the Frenchman, started to explore; and when, at length, they did discover a wretched little mud-hole, it appears that a desperate conflict for the water ensued, for the Judge
returned to us a mass of mud, and presenting a very crestfallen appearance.
Shortly after, Mr. Sargent
appeared, in such a bad humor that he declined to cook, to eat, to drink, or do any thing but swear vehemently.
Deprived by this contretemps
of our goat's flesh, we had recourse to an old ham and very stale bread.
We met many cotton trains and government wag ons to-day, and I think we have progressed about thirty-four miles.
23d April, 1863 (Thursday).
The wily Mr. Sargent
drove the animals down to the mud-hole in the middle of last night, and so stole a march upon Ward
Our goat's flesh having spoiled, had to be thrown away this morning.
We started at 5.30 A. M., and reached “Rocky” at 7.30; but before this two of Ward
's horses had “caved in
,” which completely restored our driver's good humor.
Rocky consists of two huts in the midst of a stony country; and about a mile beyond it we reached a pond, watered our mules, and filled our barrels.
The water was very muddy to look at, but not bad to drink.
The mules were lazy to-day; and Mr. Sargent
was forced to fill his bucket with stones, and pelt the leaders occasionally.
At 8 A. M. we reached an open, undulating prairie, and halted at 10.30. Mr. Sargent
and I killed and cooked the two chickens.
He has done me the honor to call me a “right good companion for the road.”
He also told me that at one time he kept an hotel at El Paso
— a sort of half-way house on the overland route to Californiaand
was rapidly making his fortune when the war totally ruined him. This accounts for his animosity to “Uncle Abe.”
We hitched in again at 3 P. M., and after pushing through some deepish sand, we halted for the night only twenty-four miles from San Antonio
No corn or water, but plenty of grass; our food, also, was now entirely expended.
struggled up at 8.15, making a desperate effort to keep up with us, and this rivalry between Sargent
and him was of great service.
This was our last night of camping out, and I felt almost sorry for it, for I have enjoyed the journey in spite of the hardships.
The country through which I have passed would be most fertile and productive (at least the last 150 miles), were it not for the great irregularity of the seasons.
Sometimes there is hardly any rain for two and three years together.
24th April, 1863 (Friday).
We made a start at 4.15 A. M., and with the assistance of McCarthy
, we managed to lose our way; but at 6.15 a loud cheer from the box, of “Hoorraw
who's afraid of fire?”
that Mr. Sargent
had come in sight of Grey
After buying some eggs and Indian corn there, we crossed the deep bed of the river San Antonio
Its banks are very steep and picturesque.
We halted immediately beyond, to allow the mules to feed for an hour.
A woman was murdered at a ranch close by some time ago, and five bad characters were put to death at San Antonio
by the vigilance committee on suspicion.
We crossed the Selado river at 11, and nooned it in its neighborhood.
and the Judge
finished the gin; and the former, being rather drunk, entertained us with a detailed description of his treatment of a refractory negro girl, which, by his own account, must have been very severe.
was much disgusted at the story.11
After bathing in the Selado
, Mr. Sargent
, being determined to beat Ward
, pushed on for San Antonio
; and we drew up before Menger
's hotel at 3 P. M., our mules dead beat-our driver having fulfilled his promise of “making his long-eared horses howl.”
Later in the day I walked through the streets with McCarthy
to his store, which is a very large building, but now desolate, every thing having been sold off. He was of course greeted by his numerous friends, and among others I saw a negro come up to him, shake hands, and welcome him back.
I was introduced to Colonel Duff
's brother, who is also a very good-looking man; but he has not thrown off his British nationality and become a “citizen.”
The distance from Brownsville
to San Antonio
is 330 miles, and we have been 11 days and 4 hours en route
25th April, 1863 (Saturday).
is prettily situated on both banks of the river of the same name.
It should contain about 10,000 inhabitants, and is the largest place in Texas
, except Galveston
The houses are well built of stone, and they are generally only one or two stories high.
All have verandas in front.
Before the war San Antonio
was very prosperous, and rapidly increasing in size; but trade is now almost at a complete stand-still.
All the male population under forty are in the military service, and many necessary articles are at famine prices.
Coffee costs $7 a pound.
's hotel is a large and imposing edifice, but
its proprietor (a civil German) was on the point of shutting it up for the present.
During the morning I visited Colonel Bankhead
, a tall, gentlemanlike Virginian, who was commanding officer of the troops here.
He told me a great deal about the Texan
history, the Jesuit
missions, and the Louisiana
purchase, &c.; and he alarmed me by doubting whether I should be able to cross the Mississippi
had taken Alexandria
I also made the acquaintance of Major Minter
, another Virginian, who told me he had served in the 2d cavalry in the old United States army.
The following officers in the Confederate army were in the same regiment-viz., General A. S. Johnson
(killed at Shiloh
), General Lee
, General Van Dorn
, General Hardee
, General Kirby Smith
, and General Hood
By the advice of McCarthy
, I sent my portmanteau and some of my heavy things to be sold by auction, as I could not possibly carry them with me.
I took my place by the stage for Alleyton
): it cost $40; in old times it was $13.
I dined with McCarthy
and young Duff
at 3 P. M. The latter would not hear of my paying my share of the expenses of the journey from Brownsville
was thrown into a great state of agitation and delight by receiving a letter from her mother,
who is in Yankeedom.
is so cut off that she only hears once in many months.
and Mrs. Bankhead
called for me in their ambulance at 5 P. M., and they drove me to see the source of the San Antonio
, which is the most beautiful clear spring I ever saw. We also saw the extensive foundations for a tannery now being built by the Confederate government.
The country is very pretty, and is irrigated in an ingenious manner by ditches cut from the river in all directions.
It is thus in a great degree rendered independent of rain.
At San Antonio spring
we were entertained by a Major Young
, a queer little naval officer,--why a major I couldn't discover.
is a violent Southerner.
She was twice ordered out of Memphis
by the Federals
on account of her husband's principles; but-she says that she was treated with courtesy and kindness by the Federal General Sherman
, who carried out the orders of his government with regret.
None of the Southern
people with whom I have spoken entertain any hopes of a speedy termination of the war. They say it must last all Lincoln
's presidency, and perhaps a good deal longer.
In the neighborhood of San Antonio
, one-third of the population is German
, and many of them were at first by no means loyal to the Confederate
They objected much to the conscription, and some even resisted by force of arms; but these were soon settled by Duff
's regiment, and it is said they are now reconciled to the new regime.
My portmanteau, with what was in it — for I gave away part of my things-sold for $323. Its value in England
couldn't have been more than £8 or £9.
The portmanteau itself, which was an old one, fetched $51; a very old pair of butcher boots, $32; five shirts, $42; an old overcoat, $25.
26th April, 1863 (Sunday).
At 11.30 A M., McCarthy
drove me in his buggy to see the San Pedro spring
, which is inferior in beauty to the San Antonio spring
A troop of Texan cavalry was bivouacked there.
We afterwards drove to the “missions
” of San Jose
and San Juan
, six and nine miles from the town.
These were fortified convents for the conversion of the Indians, and were built by the Jesuits about one hundred and seventy years ago. They are now ruins, and the architecture is of the heavy Castilian style, elaborately ornamented.
These missions are very interesting, and there are two more of them, which I did not see.
In the afternoon I saw many negroes and negresses parading about in their Sunday clothes-silks and crinolines-much smarter than their mistresses.
At 5 P. M. I dined with Colonel Bankhead
gave an entertainment, which in these hard times must have cost a mint of money.
About fourteen of the principal officers were invited; one of them was Captain Mason
(cousin to the London
commissioner), who had served under Stonewall Jackson
He said that officer was by no means popular at first
. I spent a very agreeable evening, and heard many anecdotes of the war. One of the officers sang the abolition song, “John Brown
,” together with its parody, “I'm bound to be a soldier in the army of the South
,” a Confederate marching song, and another parody, which is a Yankee marching song, “We'll hang Jeff Davis
on a sour-apple tree.”
Whenever I have dined with Confederate officers, they have nearly always proposed the Queen
's health, and never failed to pass the highest eulogiums upon her majesty.
27th April, 1863 (Monday).
has given me letters of introduction to General Bragg
, to General Leonidas Polk
, and several others.
At 2 P. M. I called on Mrs. Bankhead
to say goodby.
She told me that her husband had two brothers in the Northern
service-one in the army and the other in the navy.
The two army brothers were both in the battles of Shiloh
, on opposite sides.
The naval Bankhead
commanded the Monitor
when she sank.
... introduced me to a German militia general in a beer-house this afternoon.
These two had a slight dispute, as the latter spoke strongly in disapproval of “secret or night lynching
The recent escapade of Captain Penaloso
seems to have been much condemned in San Antonio
This individual (formerly a butcher) hanged one of his soldiers a short time ago, on his own responsibility, for desertion and stealing a musket.
This event came off at 12 o'clock noon, in the principal plaza of the city.
The tree has been cut down, to show the feelings of the citizens.
There can be no doubt that the enforcement of the conscription has, as a general rule, been extremely easy throughout the Confederacy
(except among the Germans); but I hear of many persons evading it, by getting into some sort of government employment --such as contractors, agents, or teamsters to the Rio Grande
To my extreme regret, I took leave of my fiend McCarthy
this evening, whose hospitality and kindness I shall never forget.
I left San Antonio
at 9 P. M. The stage was an old coach, into the interior of which nine persons were crammed on three transverse seats, besides many others on the roof.
I was placed on the centre seat, which was extremely narrow, and I had nothing but a strap to support my back.
An enormously fat German was my vis-a-vis
, and a longlegged
Confederate officer was in my rear.
Our first team consisted of four mules; we afterwards got horses.
My fellow-travellers were all either military men, r connected with the government.
out of nine chewed tobacco during the light; but they aimed at the windows with great accuracy, and didn't splash
me. The amount of sleep I got, however, was naturally very trifling.
28th April, 1863 (Tuesday).
We crossed the river Guadalupe
at 5 A. M., and got a change of horses.
We got a very fair breakfast at Seguin
, at 7 A. M., which was beginning to be a well-to-do little place when the war dried it up. It commenced to rain at Seguin
, which made the road very woolly, and annoyed the outsiders a good deal.
The conversation turned a good deal upon military subjects, and all agreed that the system of election of officers had proved to be a great mistake.
According to their own accounts, discipline must have been extremely lax at first, but was now improving.
They were most anxious to hear what was thought of their cause in Europe
; and none of them seemed aware of the great sympathy which their gallantry and determination had gained for them in England
in spite of slavery.
We dined at a little wooden hamlet called Belmont
, and changed horses again there.
The country through which we had been travelling was a good deal cultivated, and there were numerous farms.
I saw cotton-fields for the first time.
We amused ourselves by taking shots with our revolvers at the enormous jack-rabbits which came to stare at the coach.
In the afternoon tobacco-chewing became universal, and the spitting was sometimes a little wild.
It was the custom for the outsiders to sit round the top of the carriage, with their legs dangling over (like mutes on a hearse returning from a funeral). This practice rendered it dangerous to put one's head out of the window, for fear of a back kick from the heels, or of a shower of tobacco-juice from the mouths of the Southern
chivalry on the roof.
In spite of their peculiar habits of hanging, shooting, &c., which seemed to be natural to people living in a wild and thinly-populated country, there was much to like in my fellow-travellers.
They all had a sort of bonhommie
honesty and straightforwardness, a natural courtesy and extreme good-nature, which was very agreeable.
Although they were all very anxious to talk to a European-who, in these blockaded times, is a rara avis-yet
their inquisitiveness was never offensive or disagreeable.
Any doubts as to my personal safety, which may have been roused by my early insight into Lynch
law, were soon completely set at rest; for I soon perceived
that if any one were to annoy me the remainder would stand by me as a point of honor.
We supped at a little town called Gonzales
at 6 30.
We left it at 8 P. M. in another coach with six horses-big, strong animals.
The roads being all natural ones, were much injured by the rains.
We were all rather disgusted by the bad news we heard at Gonzales
of the continued advance of Banks
, and of the probable fall of Alexandria
The squeezing was really quite awful, but I did not suffer so much as the fat or long-legged ones.
They all bore their trials in the most jovial goodhumored manner.
My fat vis-a-vis
(in despair) changed places with me, my two bench-fellows being rather thinner than his, and I benefited much by the change into a back seat.
29th April, 1863 (Wednesday).
Exhausted as I was, I managed to sleep wonderfully well last night.
We breakfasted at a place called Hallettsville
at 7 A. M., and changed carriages again.
Here we took in four more Confederate soldiers as outsiders, and we were now eighteen in all. Nowhere but in this country would such a thing be permitted.
Owing to the great top-weight, the coach swayed
about like a ship in a heavy sea, and the escapes of a capsize were almost miraculous.
It is said that at the end of a Texan journey the question asked is not, “Have you been upset” but, “How many times have you been upset?”
The value of the negroes working in the fields was constantly appraised by my fellow-travellers; and it appeared that, in Texas
, an able-bodied male fetched $2500, whilst a well-skilled seamstress was worth $3500.
Two of my companions served through the late severe campaign in New Mexico
, but they considered forty-eight hours in a closely-packed stage a greater hardship than any of their military experiences.
We passed many cotton-fields and beautiful Indian corn, but much of the latter had been damaged by the hail.
I was told that one-third of the land formerly devoted to cotton is still sown with that article, the remainder being corn, &c.13
We also passed through some very pretty country, full of fine post-oak and cotton trees, and we met many Mexican
cotton-teams — some of the wagons with fourteen oxen or twelve mules, which were being cruelly ill-treated by their drivers.
We crossed several rivers with steep and difficult banks, and dined at a farm-house at 2.30 P. M.
I have already discovered that, directly the bell rings, it is necessary to rush at one's food and bolt it as quickly as possible, without any ceremony or delay, otherwise it all disappears, so rapacious and so voracious are the natives at their meals whilst travelling.
Dinner, on such occasions, in no case lasts more than seven minutes.
We reached Columbus
at 6 P. M., and got rid of half our passengers there.
These Texan towns generally consist of one large plaza, with a well-built court-house on one side and an hotel opposite, the other two sides being filled up with wooden stores.
All their budding prosperity has been completely checked by the war; but every one anticipates a great immigration into Texas
after the peace.
We crossed the Colorado river
, and reached Alleyton
, our destination, at 7 P. M.
This little wooden village has sprung into existence during the last three years, owing to its being the present terminus to the railroad.
It was crammed full of travellers and cotton speculators; but, as an especial favor, the fat German
and I were given a bed between us
. I threw myself on the bed with my clothes on (bien entendu
), and was fast asleep in five minutes. In the same room there were three other beds, each with two occupants.
The distance from San Antonio
is 140 miles-time, forty-six hours.
30th April, 1863 (Thursday).
I have to-day acquired my first experience of Texan railroads.
In this country, where every white man is as good as another (by theory), and every white female is by courtesy a lady, there is only one class.
The train from Alleyton
consisted of two long cars, each holding about fifty persons.
Their interior is like the aisle of a church, twelve seats on either side, each for two persons.--The seats are comfortably stuffed, and seemed luxurious after the stage.
Before starting, the engine gives two preliminary snorts, which, with a yell from the official of “all aboard
,” warn the passengers to hold on; for they are closely followed by a tremendousjerk, which sets the cars in motion.
Every passenger is allowed to use his own discretion about breaking his arm, neck, or leg, without interference by the railway officials.
People are continually jumping on and off whilst the train is in motion, and larking from one car to the other.
There is no sort of fence or other obstacle to prevent “humans” or cattle from getting on the line.
We left Alleyton
at 8 A. M., and got a miserable meal at Richmond
At this little town I was introduced to a seedy-looking man, in rusty black
clothes and a broken-down “stove-pipe” hat. This was Judge Stockdale
, who will probably be the next governor of Texas
He is an agreeable man, and his conversation is far superior to his clothing.
The rival candidate is General Chambers
(I think), who has become very popular by the following sentence in his manifesto:--“I am of opinion that married soldiers should be given the opportunity of embracing their families at least once a year, their places in the ranks being taken by unmarried men. The population must not be allowed to suffer.”
is on the Brazos river
, which is crossed in a peculiar manner.
A steep inclined plane leads to a low, rickety, trestle bridge, and a similar inclined plane is cut in the opposite bank.
The engine cracks on all steam, and gets sufficient impetus in going down the first incline to shoot across the bridge and up the second incline.
But even in Texas
this method of crossing a river is considered rather unsafe.
After crossing the river in this manner, the rail traverses some very fertile land, part of which forms the estate of the late Colonel Terry
There are more than two hundred negroes on the plantation.
Some of the fields were planted with cotton and Indian corn mixed, three rows of the former between two of the latter.
I saw also fields of cotton and sugar mixed.
We changed carriages at Harrisburg
, and I completed my journey to Houston
on a cotton truck.
The country near Houston
is very pretty, and is studded with white wooden villas, which are raised off the ground on blocks like haystacks.
I reached Houston
at 4.30 P. M., and drove to the Fannin House hotel
is a much better place than I expected.
The main street can boast of many well-built brick and iron houses.
It was very full, as it now contained all the refugees from the deserted town of Galveston
After an extremely mild supper, I was introduced to Lieutenant Lee
, a wounded hero, who lost his leg at Shiloh
; also to Colonel Pyron
, a distinguished officer, who commands the regiment named after him.
The fat German
, Mr. Lee
, and myself, went to the theatre afterwards.
As a great favor, my British prejudices were respected, and I was allowed a bed to myself; but the four other beds in the room had two occupants each.
A captain, whose acquaintance I had made in the cars, slept in the next bed to me. Directly after we had got into bed a negro came in, who, squatting down between our beds, began to clean our boots.
pointed at the slave, and thus held forth: --“Well, Kernel, I reckon you've got servants in your country, but not of that color.
Now, sir, this is a real genuine African
He's as happy as the day's long; and if he was on a sugar plantation he'd be dancing half the night; but if you was to collect
a thousand of them together, and fire one bomb in amongst them, they'd all run like h — ll.”
The negro grinned, and seemed quite flattered.