Thursday, November 3, 2016

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Saturday, July 11, 1863

I hope I may never for my sins be again condemned to travel for thirty hours in an American stage on a used-up plank road. We changed carriages at Somerset. All my fellow-travellers were of course violent Unionists, and invariably spoke of my late friends as Rebels or Rebs. They had all got it into their heads that their Potomac army, not having been thoroughly thrashed, as it always has been hitherto, had achieved a tremendous victory; and that its new chief, General Meade, who in reality was driven into a strong position, which he had sense enough to stick to, is a wonderful strategist. They all hope that the remnants of Lee's army will not be allowed to Escape over the Potomac; whereas, when I left the army two days ago, no man in it had a thought of escaping over the Potomac, and certainly General Meade was not in a position to attempt to prevent the passage, if crossing had become necessary.

I reached Johnstown on the Pennsylvania Railway at 6 P.M., and found that town in a great state of excitement in consequence of the review of two militia companies, who were receiving garlands from the fair ladies of Johnstown in gratitude for their daring conduct in turning out to resist Lee's invasion. Most of the men seemed to be respectable mechanics, not at all adapted for an early interview with the rebels. The garlands supplied were as big and apparently as substantial as a ship's life-buoys, and the recipients looked particularly helpless after they had got them. Heaven help those Pennsylvanian braves if a score of Hood's Texans had caught sight of them!

Left Johnstown by train at 7.30 P.M., and, by paying half a dollar, I secured a berth in a sleeping-car — a most admirable and ingenious Yankee notion.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 304-5

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