Experience of a Scout going into and coming out of Vicksburg
On the 24th of May General Johnston
dispatched Lamar Fontaine
, the "hero upon crutches," with a verbal message to General Pemberton
, in Vicksburg
He carried forty pounds of percussion caps
, besides his blanket and crutches.
The narrative of the dangerous adventure, published in the Mobile Advertiser
, is very interesting, and we give a portion of it:
He crossed Big Black river
that night, and the next day got between their lines and the division of their army which was at Mechanicsburg
He hid his horse in a ravine, and ensconced himself in a fallen tree, overlooking the road, during that day. From his hiding place he witnessed the retreat of the Yankees
who passed him in considerable haste and confusion.
After their columns had gone by, and the night had made it safe for him to move, he continued his route in the direction of Snyder's Bluff.
As he entered the telegraphic road from Yazoo City
he was hailed by a picket, but dashed by him. A volley was fired at him by the Yankees
He escaped unhurt, but a Minnie Hall wounded his horse mortally.
The spirited animal, however, carried him safely to the bank of the Yazoo river
, where he died, and left him afoot.
He lost one of his crutches in making his escape.
This was jerked from him by the limb of a tree, and he had no time to pick it up.
With the assistance of one crutch he carried his baggage, and groped along the Yazoo
until he providentially discovered a small log canoe, tied by a rope, within his reach.
He pressed this into his service, and paddled down the river until he met three Yankee gunboats coming up to Yazoo city
He avoided them by running under some willows overhanging the water, and lying concealed until they passed.
Soon afterwards he floated by Snyder's Bluff, which was illuminated, and alive with Yankees and negroes participating in the amusement of a grand ball of mixed races.
He lay flat in his canoe — which was nothing but a hollow log, and could hardly be distinguished from a piece of driftwood — and glided safely through the gunboats, transports, and barges of the amalgamationists.
He reached the back water of the Mississippi
before day, and in the darkness missed the outlet of the Yazoo
and got into what is called "Old River
." After searching in vain for a pass into the Mississippi
, day dawned and he discovered his mistake, He was forced to conceal his boat and himself and lie by for another day. He had been two days and nights without food, and began to suffer the pangs of hunger.
At night he paddled back into the Yazoo
, and descended it to the Mississippi
, passing forty or fifty of the Yankee transports.
Only one man hated him, from the stern of a steamboat, and asked him where he was going.
He replied that he was going to his fishing lines.
In the bend above Vicksburg
, he floated by the mortar fleet, lying flat in his cance.
The mortars were in full blast bombarding the city.
The next morning he tied a white handkerchief to his paddle, raised himself up in the midst of our picket boats at Vicksburg
, and gave a loud buzzed for Jeff Davis
and the Southern Confederacy, amid the vivas
of our sailors, who gave him a joyful reception and assisted him to Gen. Pemberton
After resting a day and night in the city he started out with a dispatch from Gen Pemberton
to Gen. Johnston
He embarked on his same canoe, and soon reached the enemy's fleet below the city.
He avoided their picket boats on both shares, and fleeted near their gunboats.
He passed so near one of these that through an open porthole he could see men playing cards and hear them converse.--At Diamond Place he landed and bade adieu to his faithful "dug-out" After hobbling through the bottom to the hills, he reached the residence of a man who had been robbed by the savages of all his mules and horses, except an old worthless gelding and a half broken colt.
He gave him the choice of them, and he mounted the colt, but found that he travelled badly.
Providentially he came upon a very fine horse in the bottom, tied by a bind bridle, without a saddle.
As a basket and an old bag were lying near him, he inferred that a negro had left him there, and that a Yankee camp was not far distant.
He exchanged bridles, saddled the horse and mounted him, after turning loose the colt.
After riding so as to avoid the supposed position of the Yankees
, he encountered one of the thieves, who was returning to it from a successful plundering excursion.
He was loaded with chickens and a bucket of honey.
He commenced catechizing Lamar
in true Yankee style, who concluded it best to satisfy his curiosity by sanding him where he could know all that the devil could teach him. With a pistol-bullet through his forehead, he left him with his honey and poultry, lying in the path to excite the conjectures of his follow thieves
He approached with much the next settlement.
There be hired a guide for fifty dollars to p him to H's Ferry, on Big Bk river, which he wished to reach near that point without following my road.
The follow he hired proved to be a traitor.
When he got near the ferry L him ahead to ascertain whether any Yankees were in the vicinity.
The conversation and manners of the man had excited his and as soon as he left him he concealed but remained where he could watch his He remained much longer than he suspected, but returned and reported that the way was open, and that no Yankees were near the ferry.
After paying him he took the precaution to avoid the ferry, and to approach them far above it, instead of following the guide's instructions.
By this he flanked a force of the Yankees
posed to intercept him; but as he entered the road near the river bank, one of them, who accessed to be on the right flank of a long line of sentinels, suddenly rose up within ten feet of him, and ordered him to He replied with a pistol shot, which killed the sentinel dead, and wheeling his horse, galloped through the bottom up the river, but the Yankees
sent a shower of balls after him, two of which wounded his right hand, injuring four of his fingers.
One grazed his right leg cutting two holes through his p Seven bullets struck the horse, which red under him, but had strength and speed to bear him a mile from his p before he fell and died.
then divided his clothes and arms into packages, and swam k river safely.
He did not walk before a patriotic lady supplied him with the only horse she had — a stray one, which came to her house after the Yankees
had carried all the animals belonging to the place.
On this he reached Raymond
at 2 o'clock in the morning changed his horse for a fresh one, carried his dispatch to Jackson