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FORT WARREN, ETC.
THE author of the foregoing work was captured by the enemies of his country, on his way to Europe. A brief record of his captivity-an unvarnished writing in a jail-will not be an inappropriate appendix to the foregoing pages; and he thinks it may, also, be a valuable illustration of some opinions in this volume, and an exhibition of moral aspects of the war, which are, indeed, the most interesting part of its history.
No one can justly charge the writer with attempt at any base gratification in libel or abuse in the following pages. He leaves such resources of revenge to the baser of his enemies; and he challenges every man who respects the freedom and honesty of literature, to say whether in these pages he has been insensible even to one glimpse of kindness in his prison, or has done more than refuse, for any interest or convenience, to compromise
RUNNING THE BLOCKADE.-The "Greyhound."-Passing the Blockade Lines.-The Capture.-Yankee Courtesy.-Off Fortress Monroe.
"RUNNING THE BLOCKADE" to Europe, is a pleasant thought to one in Richmond; the imagination of an adventure at the end of which are golden visions and that beatitude which may be summed up in "plenty to wear and to eat." The first stage of the adventure brings one to Wilmington; and here he already finds in the luxurious cabins of the blockade-runners the creature-comforts to which he has long been a stranger in
the Confederate capital, and has a foretaste of some of the sweets of his adventure.
Oranges, which, if they existed in Richmond, would be ticketed in some Jew's window at twenty dollars apiece; pineapples, with their forgotten fragrance; wines and liquors, of which we have only the poisoned imitations in Richmond; and an array of cut and stained glass-ware that would have put to the blush the stock of all the hotels in the Confederacy (I had been eating and drinking out of tin at the Wilmington hotel), were set out with a bewildering profusion in the cabin of the "Greyhound," when I called to make my respects to Captain "Henry" and concluded my arrangements for passage out to Bermuda. What a splendid fellow he was: a graceful dash of manner, which yet beamed with intelligence, an exuberant hospitality, a kindness that when it did a grateful thing so gracefully waived all expressions of obligation. He had been all over the world; was familiar with the great capitals of Europe; bore the marks of a wound obtained in the campaign of Stonewall Jackson; and as to his name and nationality why, passengers on blockade-runners are not expected to be inquisitive of these circumstances, and must beware of impertinent curiosity.
"Want to get out on the Greyhound? Why, certainly; shall be very glad to have you ;" and the captain blew his piratical silver whistle, and his clerk had soon noted my height, color of my eyes, &c., for the Confederate officer, who was to come aboard next morning to muster crew and passengers and see that no conscripts made an unticketed exit from Wilmington.
[The reader must understand that on vessels running the blockade there is no accommodation for passengers, unless in the contracted space of the captain's own cabin; hence, passengers are taken only by extraordinary favor.]
What a contrast was the ready consent of Captain "Henry," an entire stranger, to the negatives and quibbles of others. For there are in Wilmington specimens of the Southern Yankee: men, as we have seen them in Richmond, whose swollen wealth, and beefy vulgarity, and insatiable avarice, number them with that brood of moral bastardy. Two officers of the volunteer navy of the Confederacy, who desired passage to
proceed to a most important rendezvous, in urgent interests of the public service, were ruthlessly disappointed, because they could not manage to pay, for a seventy hours' passage to Bermuda, four hundred dollars in gold-eight thousand in the currency of the Confederacy.
On the night of the 9th of May, the Greyhound was lying off Fort Fisher, the signal-men blinking at each other with their lights in sliding boxes. It was necessary to get a dispensation from the fort for the Greyhound to pass out to sea, as no less than three fugitive conscripts-"stow-aways"-had been found aboard of her. Two of them were discovered on searching the vessel at Wilmington. But lower down the stream the vessel is overhauled again, and goes through the process of the fumigation of her hold to discover improper passengers. In the case of the Greyhound, to the intense disgust of the captain, and execrations of the crew, the process brought to light an unhappy stow-away, who was recognized as a liquordealer of Wilmington, and made no secret of his design to flee the conscription. After the threat, and apparently serious preparations, to throw him overboard, the stow-away was, no doubt, relieved to find himself taken ashore to the comparative mercies of the enrolling officer.
At last we are off. The moon is down; steward has had orders to kill the geese and shut up the dog; the captain has put on a suit of dark clothes; every light is extinguished, every word spoken in a whisper, and the turn of the propeller of the Greyhound sounds like the beat of a human heart. There is an excitement in these circumstances. The low, whitegray vessel glides furtively through the water, and you catch the whispered commands of the captain: "Stead-ey," and then the more intense and energetic whisper: "Black smoke, by G-; cut off your smoke." Every eye is strained into the shadows of the night. But how utterly useless did all this precaution and vigilance appear on the Greyhound; for after two hours of suspense we were out of the blockade lines, and had seen nothing but the white caps of the waves.
blockade for blockheads, surely, I thought, as I composed my,"self to sleep, dismissing entirely from my mind all terrors of the Yankee.
It was about two o'clock the next day, and the Greyhound was about one hundred and fifty miles out at sea, when the lookout reported a steamer astern of us. The day was hazy, and when the vessel was first descried, she could not have been more than five or six miles astern of us. For a few moments there was a sharp suspense; perhaps the steamer had not seen us; every one listened with breathless anxiety, as the tall fellow at the mast-head reported the discoveries he was making, through his glasses, of the suspicious vessel. “He is bearing towards a bark, sir;" and for a few moments hope mounted in our hearts that we might not have been observed, and might yet escape into the misty obscurity of the sea. In vain. "He is a side-wheel steamer, and is bearing directly for us, sir." "Give her her way," shouted the captain in response; and there was a tumultuous rush of the crew to the engine-room, and the black smoke curling above the smokestack and the white foam in our wake told plainly enough that the startled Greyhound was making desperate speed.
But she was evidently no match for the Yankee. We were being rapidly overhauled, and in something more than an hour from the beginning of the chase a shell from the Yankee vessel, the "Connecticut," was whistling over our bows. The crew became unruly; but Captain "Henry," revolver in hand, ordered back the man to the wheel, declaring "he was master of his vessel yet." The mate reported that a very small crew appeared to be aboard the Yankee. "Then we will fight for it," said the captain. But the madness of such a resolution became soon manifest: for as the Connecticut overhauled us more closely, her decks and wheel-houses were seen to be black with men, and a shell, which grazed our engine, warned us that we were at the mercy of the enemy. But for that peculiar nuisance of blockade-runners-women passengersthe Greyhound might have been burnt, and the last duty performed in the face of the rapacious enemy.
Dizzy, and disgusted with sea-sickness; never supposing that a vessel which had passed out of the asserted lines of blockade without seeing a blockader, without being pursued from those lines, and already far out on the sacred highway of the ocean, and flying the British ensign, could be the subject of piratical seizure; never dreaming that a simple Confederate passenger could be the victim of human kidnapping on the high seas, outside of all military and territorial lines, I had but a dim appreciation of the excited scenes on the Greyhound in the chase. Papers, memoranda, packages of Confederate bonds, were ruthlessly tossed into the purser's bag to be consumed by the flames in the engine-room; the contents of trunks were wildly scattered over the decks; the white waves danced with ambrotypes, souvenirs, and the torn fragments of the large package of letters, missives of friendship, records of affection, which had been entrusted to me, and which I at last unwillingly gave to the sea.
Here, at last, close alongside of us, in the bright day, was the black guilty thing, while from her sides were pushing out boats, with well-dressed crews in lustrous uniforms and officers in the picturesqueness of gold and blue-a brave sight for grimy Confederates! The Greyhound was no sooner boarded, than an ensign, who had his hair parted in the middle, and his hands encased in lavender-colored kids, came up to me and asked me with a very joyous air how many bales of cotton were on board the vessel. I afterwards understood that, from my disconsolate looks, he had taken me to be the owner of the cotton, and was probably desirous, by his amiable question, to give a sly pinch to my misery.
These plain records of experience, which are memorable in my life, would have no value for me, and would, indeed, be despicable scribblings, if they did not contain the truth. Where there is any fact in these experiences to the enemy's credit I shall not suppress it; he shall not only have the benefit of it, but my grateful acknowledgements; for I am too proud of the