"The moon was shining silver bright,
The stars with glory crowned the night,"
and no happier set of fellows could be found than
we were when we first struck our paddles in the water of the Edisto,
heading toward our gunboats. We made steamboat speed the remainder
of the night, and about day-break we tied up and camped for the
day, in the wilderness of the Edisto.
Monday night came on, when we again pushed out, and
made good speed until three o'clock in the morning, when we again
went ashore and took a sleep until daylight, (Tuesday) when we
kindled a fire and cooked our remaining potatoes, and sucked our
sugar-cane stalks until they were dry. Tuesday night came on,
and we resumed our voyage, but it now became necessary to hunt
for more forage. So, passing down the river a few miles, we came
to a plantation lying near the river, which was quite a rare thing,
as it was principally a wilderness on both sides of the river.
Here we pushed ashore, tied our boats under cover
of the bank, and moved up quietly to the negro quarters and made
ourselves known to darkies, who were glad to see "de Yankees"
they had heard so much about; and after becoming satisfied that
we had no "horns" and that we were their friends, they
rallied all the negroes on the plantation. Women and children
came out to see us, each one bringing some token of their kind
regard. Even the smallest child had a potato to give us. By
these negroes our haversacks were again replenished with grub,
but they could give us but little information about what was ahead
of us. We started with our treasures to our boats again. Just
as I stepped into my boat it tipped up with me, throwing me into
the rapid current, and I should evidently have drowned (being
no swimmer) but for a bough of a tree which reached to the surface
of the water, and which I chanced to get hold of, pulling myself
up and climbing up the limb. I again got on shore, and soon we
were in our boats and under way. But as I was wet and the night
cold, we only traveled a few miles until we went ashore, made
a fire, dried my clothes, and slept the balance of the night.
Next day we resolved to run the risk of traveling
in daylight, so we pushed out and run at good speed nearly all
day, undisturbed save the occasional plunging in of a huge alligator
from the shore, which sometimes endangered the safety of our boats.
As night approached we were confident that we were nearing a
bridge, which we had been previously informed was guarded by rebel
pickets, though we could not learn whether we could run our boats
under the bridge undiscovered, or whether we should be compelled
to leave them and flank the guards, running our chances to get