Monday, June 20, 2016

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Tuesday, May 26, 1863

When I took Colonel Ewell's pass to the provost-marshal's office this morning to be countersigned, that official hesitated about stamping it, but luckily a man in his office came to my rescue, and volunteered to say that, although he didn't know me himself, he had heard me spoken of by others as “a very respectable gentleman.” I was only just in time to catch the twelve o'clock steamer for the Montgomery railroad. I overheard two negroes on board discussing affairs in general; they were deploring the war, and expressing their hatred of the Yankees for bringing “sufferment on us as well as our masters.” Both of them had evidently a great aversion to being “run off,” as they called it. One of them wore his master's sword, of which he was very proud, and he strutted about in a most amusing and consequential manner.

I got into the railroad cars at 2.30 P.M.; the pace was not at all bad, had we not stopped so often and for such a long time for wood and water. I sat opposite to a wounded soldier who told me he was an Englishman from Chelsea. He said he was returning to his regiment, although his wound in the neck often gave him great pain. The spirit with which wounded men return to the front, even although their wounds are imperfectly healed, is worthy of all praise, and shows the indomitable determination of the Southern people. In the same car there were several quite young boys of fifteen or sixteen who were badly wounded, and one or two were minus arms and legs, of which deficiencies they were evidently very vain.

The country through which we passed was a dense pine forest, sandy soil, and quite desolate, very uninviting to an invading army. We travelled all night.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 133-4

No comments: