So we had easy and
hard times. By clear nice weather we passed our time off by catching
fish, the Bay was alive with them, all varieties. But in stormy
weather we sometimes had to go out in the dead of night as far as
15 miles and ascertain where the wire was broke and repair the same.
We had one pony, which I caught wild and trained.
During our stay an incident
occurred which I think was mentionable. One night the fellow left
out on Post went in the shanty and went to sleep. Some smarty stole
our boat. For three days we hunted up and down the Bay without success.
Then me and a Comrade named Cook got a good sized log into the Bay.
Each took a piece of board, straddled the log, and paddled across
the Bay. To our great joy, we found our boat fastened among a lot
of others. We cut the chain, got into the boat, and went back to
our Post as fast as we could pull.
December the 18th, taken
from telegraph guard, put in Mrs. America Steavens house on safe
guard. They were genuine sesesh. Mr. Steavens had left just before
the Yanks had arrived. He went to Texas with 50 negroes to sell
them. I never saw him. His wife was compelled to take the oath because
the only choice she had was to either starve or buy eatables from
the commissary, and them they could only get by taking the oath
of allegiance and get an order from the quarter master for what
In this place I had
excellent times. In the morning I used to get up, eat a splendid
breakfast, and then set the loaded rifle with bayonet on the porch,
and there the same stood all day. Most of my time I sat there in
an easy chair reading. The family consisted of the old woman, two
girls 20 and 22 years, and an old couple of negroes, who would not
leave the family when Mr. Steavens took the rest to Texas. There
was two saddle horses and one, the old family buggy horse. Once
in a while the girls coaxed me to take a ride with them, which I
done when I was in a good humor.
For a past time I took
down an old smoke house, and piled the brick up nicely. One fine
evening a colored soldier, a great big strapping fellow, came along
and picked up an armful of those bricks. I hollered at him from
the porch to drop the bricks but I guess he thought I was too small
to pay any attention to me. I hollered at him three times. As he
didn’t mind me, I grabbed my gun and ran after him. He ran a ways
with his brick and when he saw that I was gaining on him, he dropped
the brick. Just as he was trying to jump a ditch. I gave him a little
push on his backside with the bayonet. He jumped a few feet in the
air, such an unearthly yell as he gave I never heard in my life.
I forgot to state that there was two regiments of colored soldiers
camping on the Bervicks City side.
Soon afterwards the
captain and two colored soldiers came up to arrest me. I grabbed
my rifle, cocked it and told the captain not to dare to enter the
premises, that I would shoot the first man who would attempt to
enter. He came to a stop, said he would arrest me if it took his
whole camp to do it. I said you can’t do it with your whole regiment.
Further I told him that up to that time I allowed the nigger drivers
(white officers in a colored regiment) to come and spark the girls,
that I would dare any of them to come on the premises again. The
Captain with his guard marched off, and that was the end of the
arresting business. The next day I was called over to the provost
marshall. He told me the Colonel from the negro regiment had reported
me. I stated the facts. He said you done right, keep them out of
the house if you don’t like them. And you bet I did.
During my stay at Mrs.
Steavens, the youngest girl begged me to take a ride with her to
her Uncle, Dr. Patterson, who lived 9 miles outside of the picket
line at Pattersonville. This ride nearly cost me my life. Towards
evening when I talked to her about going home, the girl had made
up her mind to stay over night. They tried to induce me to stay
too, but as I knew the country was alive with guerrillas nothing
could keep me from going back so I started alone. I wasn’t more
than half a mile from Pattersonville when 10 or 12 men on horse
back came from the woods. As soon as they got near enough, they
yelled for me to half, but I dug the spurs right into the pony and
let him fly. The next minute, the balls were hissing past on each
side of me. Then there was a chase for life and death, but as I
had the best pony I gained a victory. I then concluded not to take
another ride outside of the picket line.
The next day when the
girl came home I told her to get ready, that I would have to take
her over to the provost marshall, that I had been guarding rebels
long enough. On their knees the three of them begging me that I
shouldn’t do it, and really the girl convinced me that she was ignorant
of a trap having been layed for me at Pattersonville.
In Mrs. Steavens house
on guard until the 21st day of February 1864. Went back to Brasher
City on provost guard. February 25th, detailed safe guard to Mrs.
Robbins near Pattersonville. Her husband was in the Confederate
army. The 4th day of March I brought a rebel spy to Brasher City,
as there was too much rebel talking and strange visiting going on
at Mrs. Robbins. On the 14th day of March I went to the provost
marshall, reported the fact that I was afraid some fine night the
guerrillas would take me along. He told me to stay with the provost
guard in Brasher City, Mrs. Robbins should not have safe guard any
During my stay on provost
guard I was the jack all around. For any extra job I was picked
out. I was sent at various times to search Negro quarters for arms.
Sometimes I had a boat load of old muskets, rifles, horse pistols,
and revolvers. One time I was sent after a deserter from our Company.
I captured him 9 miles from Brasher City on a Frenchman’s plantation,
a countryman of his. Whenever the provost marshall’s wife and her
sister wanted a boat ride I had to paddle them around on the Bay
until they were tired.