the bridge. Our only chances were to "go it
blind," or to see some negroes and get the necessary information.
Darkness at length came on, and we had sailed but
a short distance until we heard talking on the shore in the woods,
near the river. Supposing it to be the voice of negroes, as it
is hard to distinguish the difference between the language of
the negro and that of the white man in that country, we pushed
ashore, tied our boats, and started up to meet our colored friends,
but had got but a short distance when the dogs pitched at us fiercely,
and the men began to hiss them on; and advancing rapidly upon
us, we soon discovered that we were entrapped.
The party consisted of two white men and two negroes,
armed with double-barrel shot-guns, accompanied by two dogs.
They demanded of us who we were and where going. We represented
ourselves as Confederates on a leave of absence, from the Thirty-Second
Georgia. They however mistrusted us, and demanded our papers.
I took a piece of paper from my pocket to make believe I had
a furlough; but none of the party could read, which was well enough,
as there was nothing on it to read. They expressed themselves
willing to let us go, if they could do so without their officers
finding it out; but said they were under orders to arrest everybody
traveling without a pass, and sent for a man in the neighborhood
to come and examine our pass. We then told them who we were,
as escape seemed impossible, on account of the hounds and other
difficulties. We were then taken to a house on the plantation
and put under guard, and the women went to work, killed some chickens,
went into the field and pulled some corn, shelled and ground it
on a little hand mill, baked us a pone from the meal, and made
us a supper of chicken, pone and sweet potatoes.
We were now a hundred and sixty-five miles from where
we started, and thirty miles south of Charleston. The next morning
we were taken to Charleston on the first train. The family where
we had stayed all night, being of the poorer class, expressed
a good deal of sympathy for us. One of the women remarked to
Captain Strang, "Youens are better lookin' than our folks."
At Charleston we were introduced to the jail and
locked up in close confinement, our rations consisting of a pot
of mush a day for all four of us, with nothing to eat it with
but our pocket knives and fingers. We were only kept here a few
days, however, when we were put upon the cars and returned to
Columbia, from whence we started.