The first place of note met in South Carolina was Chesterville. We passed near the village just at nightfall, but made no stop until clear of its outskirts, when the train came to a stand by the side of a brook. The guard permitted our canteens to be filled with water from the brook, and also informed us that we would receive some rations of some kind before we were moved on. I never could discover the reason why we stopped at this place during the night, though the matter was pretty thoroughly discussed, for packed as we were, sixty in a car, there was but little opportunity for sleep. While moving on through the day new scenes were constantly opening up that served in part to help us keep our tempers in our crowded, cramped, and starved condition; but during this night there was nothing to interest, not even sleep, and furthermore we had had nothing to eat for the past three days.
As morning dawned we saw the officers and many of the men that composed our guard stringing back towards our train from the direction of the village. From their dogged, haggard looks we surmised that they had been indulging pretty freely in "pine top and sorghum," as whisky was called, so of course we got little consolation or relief from them. In a few minutes, however, we heard the cry from the rear end of the train, "Rations in sight! Rations in sight!" Sure enough, there they came. A single mule with a two-wheeled cart loaded down with rations of some sort in bags; their nature or quality we could not even surmise, although every guess of a Yankee was exhausted.
We were told by our guard that they would be issued to us after the train was under way. We saw the bags loaded upon the train, and immediately we started. Very soon the order passed along the train for a sergeant from each car to climb to the top and pass to the rear car for rations.
The sergeants soon returned and tossed a bag into each car containing—corn! There was a deal of muttering and cursing indulged in for a while, the import of which it is not necessary to repeat; but when we discovered that each of us would obtain nearly a quart, the growling and muttering subsided, or was confined to the unlucky few who had poor teeth. My teeth were good, my appetite was good, the corn tasted good; and, by diligent application, before noon my rations were well ground in the mill that nature provided.
All this time we were moving onward, crossing the Wateree River, making a short stop at Columbia, the capital of the State, but hardly long enough to get a sight of the city. I noticed, however, that it wore a deserted appearance, and contained many fine buildings. I obtained a glimpse of the prison, where several hundred of our Federal officers were confined.
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