Adventures In East Tennessee

    A rifleman belonging to the Southern army gives the following account of his experiences in the service: 

    In the beginning of the American war I belonged to a regiment of mounted riflemen, and we were sent into Eastern Tennessee, where there was a good deal of bushwhacking about that time. We were picketed one day in a line about two miles long across country, and I was on the extreme left. I took my saddle off, holsters and all, and hung it on a branch of a peach-tree, and my carbine on another. We knew there were no Yankees near, and so I was kind o’ off guard, eating peaches. By and by I saw a young woman coming down to where I was, on horseback. She wanted to know if there were many of the boys near, and if they would buy some milk of her if she took it down to them. I said I thought they would, and took about a quart myself; and as she hadn't much more, I emptied the water out of my canteen and took the rest. Says she, "If you'll come up to the house yonder, I've got something better than that; you may have some good peach brandy — some of your fellows might like a little."I said I’d go, and she says, "You needn't take your saddle or carbine, it’s just a step, and they are safe enough here — there’s, nobody about." So I mounted bareback, and she led the way. When we passed the bars where she came in, she says, "You ride on a step, and I'll get down and put up the bars." I went on, and as she came up  behind, she says pretty sharp, "Ride a little  faster, if you please." I looked round and she  had a revolver pointed straight at my head, and I saw that she knew how to use it. I had left everything behind me like a fool, and had to give in and obey orders. " That’s the house if you please," she says, and showed me a house in the edge of the woods a quarter of a mile away. We got there, and she told me to get down and eat something, for she was going to give me a long ride — into the Yankee lines, about twenty miles away. Her father came out and abused me like a thief, and told me that he was going to have me sent into the Federal lines to be hung. It  seems he had a son hung the week before by some of the Confederates, and was going to have his revenge out of me. I ate pretty well, for I thought I might need it before I got any more,  and then the old fellow began to curse me and  abuse me like anything. He said he would shoot me on the spot if it wasn't that he'd rather have  me hung; and instead of giving me my own  horse, he took the worst one he had in his stables,  and they put me on that with my feet tied  together under his belly. Luckily they didn't  tie my hands, for they thought I had no arms, and  couldn't help myself; but I always carried a  small revolver in my shirt-bosom. The girl kept  too sharp watch on me for me to use it. She  never turned her revolver from me, and I knew  that the first suspicious move I made I was a  dead man. We went about ten miles in this  way, when my old crow-bait gave out and  wouldn't go any further. She wouldn't trust me  afoot, and so had to give up her own horse; but she kept the bridle in her own hands, and walked ahead with one eye turned back on me, and the revolver cocked, with her finger on the trigger, so that I never had a chance to put my  hand in my bosom. We finally came to a spring,  and she asked me if I wanted to drink. I didn't  feel much like drinking, but I said yes, and so  she let me down. I put my head down to the  water, and at the same time put my hand down  to where the revolver was, and pulled it forward  where I could put my hand on it easily; but  she was on the watch, and I couldn't pull it out.  I mounted again, and the first time she was off  her guard a little, I fired and broke the arm she  held the pistol in. "Now," says I, " it's my turn;  you’ll please get on that horse, and we'll go  back." She didn't flinch or say a word, but got  on the horse, and I tied her legs as they had mine, and we went back to the house. The old man  he heard us come up to the door and looked out  of the window. He turned as pale as a sheet  and ran for his rifle. I knew what he was after,  and pushed the door in before he was loaded.  Says I, "You may put that shooting-iron down  and come with me." He wasn't as brave as the  girl, but it was no use to resist, and he knew it;  so he came along. About half way back we met  some of our fellows who had missed me, and  come out to look me up. They took them both,  and I don't know what they did with them, but  I know very well what they would have done  with me.

Moore, Frank; Anecdotes, Poetry and Incidents of the War: North and South; 1860 – 1865, collected and abridged by Frank Moore, Publication House, New York, 1867

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