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JC Bauer's Personal Experiences of the War of the Rebellion

Page history last edited by cathy nelson 9 years, 9 months ago

PERSONAL EXPERIENCES OF THE WAR OF

THE REBELLION, WRITTEN

BY J. C. BAUER.

 

 

KENSINGTON, CONN.

JANUARY, 1915.

 

 

*  *  *  *

*  *  *

 

 

Personal Experiences of the War of the Rebellion

Written by J. C. Bauer, ex-soldier, at the

Earnest request of his children and

Grandchildren, at Kensington,

Conn., during the month

of January, 1915.

 

* * * * * *

 

 

    On the 11th day of August, 1862, I was enrolled at Hartford, Conn. To become a soldier in the service of U.S. to put down the rebellion of the south.  Mustered in August 24th, 1862 at Hartford, Conn. By Lieut. Webb.  With me, enlisted my nephew, Edward Moore and Geo. Chamberlain, both living and working at the old Homestead for my father-in-law, Capt. Oliver Moore.  The experience as a new recruit in camp at Hartford was a novel one and it certainly continued to be until discharged at the end of the war.

    We left Hartford 1000 strong, wearing the blue knapsack filled to overflowing and somewhat heavy canteen and Haversack.  These were our equipments, without guns.  The trip by boat down the Connecticut River was exciting and our accommodations for sleeping were anywhere on deck floors, officers occupying staterooms.  Our rations were furnished us before starting on this journey, from which only few returned, many being left all over the south in honored graves.  We sailed around New York and finally were loaded in cars for Washington, where we arrived at night. 

    The following day our march was taken up across Long Bridge over the Potomac, where we came in contact with actual war, meeting and seeing the wounded brought to Washington from the battlefield at Bull Run.  It unnerved some.  It did me.

    Our first camp was at Arlington Heights, where we could see in the distance quite plainly beautiful Washington and all around us were soldiers, flags drilling, music and preparing for the duties to come. Our stay at Arlington was of short duration.  We had no tents or shelter of any kind and during rainy days were soaked.  It was a rough breaking-in.

    On or about September 10th the orders came to break camp, pack up, and fill our lunch baskets.  We started back over Long Bridge into Washington, where we stayed two days and nights, sleeping on the sidewalks.  Finally our march began through Maryland and two days before the battle of Antietam received our guns (old Springfield rifles) with 40 rounds of ammunition.  We did not know how to use our guns, at least some of us were not familiar with their use or the use of a bayonet to make a charge; we learned all of it afterwards.

    We marched irregularly, more like a mob, because we did not know any better.  On or about September 15th, 1862, we arrived near South Mountain and heard the guns booming and the battle was on.  Rebel prisoners came past us and all was hurry, confusion and intense excitement.  Gen. Mansfield of Middletown, Conn. – a regular army officer – was killed at South Mountain and I saw his body in an ambulance, being taken back to Washington.  The rebel prisoners looked at that time quite slick and perfectly harmless.

    In the night of the 16th to 17th we arrived at Antietam and slept on our arms.  At dawn, shells from the Rebels came bursting around us.  We were in battle array, green and raw soldiers.  Several of the 16th were killed and wounded thus, early in the day.  We were hustled out of our position in good order and passing the dead and wounded, I could hardly look at them.

    Along about noon we were occupying a long ridge of hills from which we could see the battlefield as far as the eye could reach.  It was a magnificent sight.  The roar of the cannon infantry firing and cavalry galloping about with shouts and yells, left a vivid impression, lasting to this day.

    Toward five o’clock my company deployed as skirmishers, meeting the enemy at close quarters.  Their line of battle advanced in perfect order, firing and Rebel batteries shelling us from the hills.  This took place after we crossed or forded the Antietam River and here I had a funny experience.  Running back towards our lines and regiment, we had to jump quite a deep ditch coming from a spring in the milk house.  I missed the other side and went down to a depth of 10 feet into water and mud. The more I struggled my troubles increased and while thus floundering, a Rebel shell bedded itself close by me.  It did not burst, the fire being extinguished, but covered me with mud from head to foot.  I finally called for help, and some of the boys, forming an endless chain, brought me up to the bank with mud filling mouth, nose and eyes.

    On we went again, taking our place in the line of battle, opposing the trained troops of Stonewall Jackson.  Maneuvering in a big corn field we were watched by our enemy, who could plainly see us in our new uniforms and not more than fifty feet apart.  They rose, fired solid volleys and we suffered.  We fixed bayonets and rushed on to death and finally broke and ran.  Our losses were awful and broke up our regiment for good service for some time.  Hawkins’ Zouaves double-quicked into our position, and stopped the Rebels breaking through our lines.  We lost almost half of our regiment and the best men in officers and privates.  I received a small scratch, was helped across the river and found myself next morning in a pig pen near a farmhouse, stretched on straw.  One officer on my right lay there dead; another on my left was dying, whispering a farewell in the ears of another officer who was holding him.  The doctor attended my scratch, gave me bandages and in a couple of weeks I was sound again. 

    My orderly, Srgt. Waddy Washburn from Berlin, a minister’s son and a traveler and as fine a man as ever lived, was hit with seven bullets.  I saw him fall and all was over.  Another splendid fellow, who was engaged to Washburn’s sister, was shot through the lungs.  He requested a comrade to read to him his sweetheart’s last letter and so died.  There happened many pathetic scenes which only are dimly remembered.  When the firing began in the cornfield one little lad near me got terribly excited and shouted:  “Stop your firing!  You’ll kill somebody next!”  After the dead were buried and the wounded removed, we went on to Pleasant Valley.  It is a beautiful place.

    Our regiment was a sad one, the ranks thinned out and new officers appointed in place of those fallen.  We continued to drill and learned quickly and what was left of us became a very efficient little body of men, (all from good well-to-do families) and friends.  Towards the last of the war we received many recruits – a poor lot, who were induced through large bounties.  I missed my nephew and Geo. Chamberlain, mentioned at the beginning, who were both wounded and long since have gone to their rest.

    From Pleasant Valley the regiment moved into Virginia.  The sick were left behind and taken to hospitals at Harpers Ferry.  I was one of those and remained quite a while until fully recovered.  I joined the regiment again opposite Fredricksburg.  Burnside commanded the Union forces, crossed the River and had a terrible battle which ended in defeat; and we recrossed back to the old camp, which was deep in mud, very little shelter and on the whole somewhat discouraging.

    Next we found ourselves at Newport News.  Had a good time there and were sheltered in barracks.  Here I saw for the first time a regiment of cavalry (colored) – a happy lot, well drilled, well behaved and brave.  We next were camped at Norfolk, Virginia in a beautiful grove of immense trees and near the bay.  Here fishing and living high on the best was our good fortune.  Here too, I was promoted from high private to Corporal and later on to First Seargent.  My next step would have been Second Lieutant of Company G, but alas – our capture at Plymouth ended such proud distinction for me!!!

    My next campaign took place in what we called Blackberry Raid and included marching to within a short distance of Richmond.  All over the land near hedges and stone walls were great fields of blackberries to be found.  We lived on them besides, however, appropriating occasionally a sheep, a pig, a rooster and our regular ration.  The result of this raid was a failure and we returned, a weary set, to Norfolk.

    Later on found us at Suffolk, where my good wife came to visit me.  I got a pass to fort Monroe, where I met her in company with Mrs. Ritchie and other ladies.  General ----- fitted us out with an ambulance and we arrived in camp.  My tent had been fitted up and decorated with flowers and the entrance embellished with green bushes and a flag.  She enjoyed it very much, attended roll call, saw us drill and witnessed evening dress parade calls.  The sociable entertainments were such as to cast lasting and pleasurable memories on my army life.  Our Dr. Meyer, who recently died in Hartford, was very kind.  Sore throats were very prevalent and a number of the regiment died.  My wife stayed about two weeks and officers and men were very courteous to all the ladies.  I wore then the three stripes and diamond and looked well.  We had our picture taken and it still adorns the wall of my bedroom and is a precious relic.

    Suffolk, N.C. treated us to a number of skirmishes.  The Rebels, appearing in force, gave us considerable diversion.  Crossing the river we opposed and stopped their advance of entering the city. Here I learned how important it is to have experienced officers.

    Our Col. Frank Beach had been a captain of a battery in the regular army and knew how to take care of us and not expose us to needless slaughter.  We were sheltered in a wide sunken road, waiting for developments, when an orderly from Gen. Harland’s staff came to the colonel with orders to advance.  Col. Beach took a survey of the ground we were to occupy and sitting on his big grey horse pointed out to us at the edge of the woods several Rebel batteries which were plainly to be seen and had drawn up to sweep the ground over which we had to advance to reach a ravine where the batteries and infantry could do us no great harm.  He addressed us saying:  “Boys, yonder ravine is our destination.  It will take the Rebel batteries so many minutes to change their position when we start.”  He got off his horse, drew his sword, shouting the order:  “Double-quick – march!”  Well, we got to the ravine without losing a man.  Other officers, not familiar with artillery practice would have lead us across and probably our losses would have been severe.  We lined the banks of the ravine and continued to pepper away at Johnny Reb and made him limber up with his battery and disappear in the woods.  It makes me think of the Germans trained in every branch, being unable to be dislodged by the English, Africans, Belgians and all the rest, from Belgium and Northern France.

    My next experience in warfare was Newbern, N. C.  It is an old, grand town, but has suffered much from war.  Only poor whites and negroes made up the population.  While we were not subjected to fight battles, it fell to our lot to be surrounded and in the midst of smallpox and yellow fever, which became very serious, although our boys were not attacked by those diseases.  We had to keep cool and clean, following the advice of doctors and follow sanitary measures.  Some of our new recruits (Bounty Jumpers) gave us much trouble.  I, as Orderly Sgt., commanded my company most of the time.  One old fellow (Collins) was very dirty and would not clean himself.  So one fine day I detailed six men to take him down to the River and wash him.  Well, they stripped him, put him in and with straw scrub him until he was decently clean.  Afterwards he got disobedient – left camp against orders, so I prepared for punishment.  I filled his knapsack with bricks, strapped it on him, and put him up on a barrel standing in the sun.  He begged to be let down and promised to behave himself.  Another time I had him strung up by the thumbs.  He finally realized it was not healthy for him to disobey and he became a real good friend and soldier.

    From Newbern we wandered to Plymouth, N.C. – an isolated outpost;- and here our greatest trouble began.  Plymouth was surrounded with forts and rifle pits and a number of gunboats stationed in the River Roanoke, emptying into Abbermal Sound.  We felt quite contented and secure after a while, until one fine Sunday afternoon our pickets were attacked and a big army under Rebel Gen. Hood, made a desperate onslaught.  For three days and nights we fought against odds.  The last night I had command of the picket.  All of my company was strung out from the River to a Fort situated on the Eaton Road.  During the day (the second day), the Rebel ironclad Albermarle, came down the river, sunk our two gunboats and chased the other down the river into the Sound.  This cut off our supplies and retreat and we were trapped, Hood’s army surrounding the city, after taking the forts.  On the picket line the last night the shells from the Ironclad made a terrible racket and fired right in line with my picket line.   It was a clear night and as dawn came I could see the Rebel pickets advancing and the Rebel line of battle following close behind and firing begun.  I gave orders to retreat towards the city, the Rebs close after us.  As we came near the forts the officer opened the gates and we filed in and were stationed at the loopholes.  We fired as fast as possible and made hits.  The Rebel line came on yelling; their batteries came close to the fort in which my company sought shelter.  The batteries opened a terrible fire, got range of the magazine and in a few minutes we all would have been blown to pieces.  The commander of the fort realized the situation, put out a white flag for surrender, the gates were opened and Johnny Reb came in.  After the surrender one of my men (John McCardle) had not given up his gun but leveled it on a Reb General who was on horse back and McCardle would have fired, had not a little fellow, Jimmy Hayes, struck McCardle on the arm and stopped him from killing the Reb officer.  It was good luck, because had a Reb been killed after surrender, they would have killed us all.

    Becoming prisoners of war does not sound good to me, even now.  The rest of my regiment and all of the garrison surrendered during the day and we rejoined our regiment as prisoners outside of the city, where we were guarded.  The Albermarle was finally blown to pieces and sunk by Lieut. Flushing at the dock at Plymouth.  It was one of the greatest, bravest feats of the war and will live in history forever.  Our regimental flag the boys tore from the staff, cut into pieces, secreted it on their bodies and in this way was brought back to Hartford.  Being patched and repaired, it now rests in a glass case with lots of other flags of Connecticut regiments, in the State House, Hartford.  We old boys still love to look at it and revere it.

    Under heavy guard we were marched to a city – Tarboro, N. C.- and camped on a beautiful stream, where we could wash and bathe.  Having eaten up our Plymouth rations and getting none from Rebs, we became hungry and somehow stayed that way while in Dixie.  I noticed one of our men giving five dollars for one dozen eggs.  The Rebs did not search us very closely and what money we had, watches, rings, etc., we were enabled to keep.  Some Rebs were saucy and ugly and took away from the boys canteens, a good pair of shoes, boots and blankets, especially rubber blankets – all necessary articles for either party.

    In a few days we were loaded in cattle cars in numbers, so we could only stand up.  There was no possible way of sitting or lying down; we were packed like sardines, standing-up fashion.  The guards were on top of the cars and two at each door.  The air became stifling and the discomfort almost unendurable.  It was an awful journey.  The cars and roadbed were in wretched condition.  I shall never forget that trip.  I do not remember how many days it took before we arrived at last at Andersonville and got a view of the noted Capt. Wirz on his white horse, greeting us with oaths in high glee, for we were more fresh fish to torture, maim and kill by the hundreds.  He died, as he deserved, on the end of a rope, dancing in air.  I will later describe him and his foul deeds.

    When the south gate opened and we marched in the stockade, horror and dismay struck the stoutest hear.  We saw the-thousand emaciated, almost naked human beings, black as negroes; and for a while supposed they were blacks.  It was a terrible sight.  We were counted off in detachments of ninety each.  I was selected to be the sergeant and commanded at ration time, at the doctors and at roll call, for which I received and extra ration.

    After getting settled down on the south side of the camp, all sorts of skirmishing took place for something to eat.  It was in our thoughts constantly.  The rations were poor and very small, consisting of a pint of corn meal, ground cobb and all, and a small piece of bacon sometimes overrun with maggots.  Sometimes no bacon was given us, but in place of it specked little peas, alive with vermin.  We had no wood, only what we could dig up in the swamp, and no utensils to cook with.  My shebang crew were Henry Savage, Billy Bidwell and another, whose name I do not remember.  We had between us half of the canteen, two cups and half of a shelter tent, which shielded us from the sun during the day and which we used as a bedquilt at night, on the hard, damp ground.  I soon became sick from dysentery and so weak that I could only get about on hands and knees.  Fortunately, I had a gold watch which the Rebs did not discover and as luck would have it, I sold it to a Rebel sergeant for $600. Confederate money, which I quickly changed for our greenbacks – six Confederate for one U. S. I then bought some red pepper and a few other eatable things from the sutler.  I recovered and never got sick again, but was always hungry.

 

I stirred about, bought a whiskey Barrel and a bag of meal, which was carefully deposited, and filled the Barrel with water.  It soon soured and was good for scurvy.  Billy Bidwell went on the main street – Broadway – peddling it at 10 cents a cup. It brought in quite a little money.

    Another enterprise of mine, although not commendable, was whiskey selling.  I became acquainted with a doctor who attended the sick in my squad.  He gave me a pint of corn whiskey, which I took in the camp and sold to those who had lots of money for 25 cents a tablespoonful, taking a little myself and giving each of my tent comrades a teaspoonful. It did us good and in this way I accumulated a pile of money - $10s and $15s, which enabled me to buy extras and occasionally a biscuit, for which I paid $1.00, and off and on raw potatoes, which I chewed and so kept away scurvy.  In all my success in this line I divided with my comrades.  I bought a pea-packet from a sailor for $5.00 and covered up poor Billy Bidwell, for he was almost naked and he said it saved his life.  When we were paid in Hartford, he offered me a roll of bills for what I did for him, but I would not have it.  I did not bring home from the South one cent, but spent it for the good of the boys and myself.

    I watched the hanging of the six raiders, who stole and murdered our own men.   They had a fair trial, were condemned and suffered the penalty.  After what a police force was organized and the camp became more quiet and orderly.  The hanging was a gruesome sight; I hate to relate it or think of it.

    The Rebs, old men and boys, were not a bright set who guarded us.  Very few could read or write.  The Yankee played many tricks upon them.  Seargent Hope of Company A sold a rebel seargent (Smith), who attended roll call and counted the Yanks, some U. S. buttons.  After paying a good price in vegetables the Reb had them sewed on his long grey coat and came in the next day highly elated.  There were six on the long tail of the coat and Hope slid up behind him, cut off the buttons, stepped up in front of him and sold them over again to the seargent, who paid for them a second time.  He was a mad Rebel when he discovered the trick.  Being counted every morning, some of those on the right slipped back to the left and Johnny Reb got his count all right.  One of our boys made a $100 bill out of a one dollar greenback and Johnny Reb gave 600 Confederates for it.  They liked greenbacks.  It went so far some good pen men printed furloughs and gave them to the guards, who sent home all over the South, no wiser, until arrested.  Capt. Wirz did the Yankees in great fashion. Digging tunnels and getting away were also smart tricks, but usually the guilty ones were brought back, being hunted by bloodhounds, which bit and tore the poor fellow so that the flesh hung in shreds.  A favorite punishment meted out was Capt. Wirz’s chain gang.  Poor fellows – seldom one survived.  When one sat down all had to follow suit.  In Savannah a Yank dug out at a number of them through a tunnel and in a dark night they dug upward for freedom, right into a campfire surrounded by guards.  Both parties were rather astonished.  The Rebs said afterwards that the Yanks grew in the ground like plants.  Still, someone told the Yanks to get back into their hole and back into camp, for said he, “You cannot possibly escape, for we tried it ourselves and missed.”

    One must read Robert Kellogg’s book and the whole narrative of Andersonville in book form by McElroy, Editor of the “National Tribune” of Washington.

    Along about August I was called out by Capt. Wirz to write on the Register of Deaths, about 125 taking place daily, with 20 other Yankee prisoners at Wirz Headquarters.  I declined, but got a dinner at the Rebel cook house of roast beef and Irish potatoes and I filled up lastingly.  O, it tastes good yet.  The guard marched me back into stockade and let me shoulder a big stick of wood.  When my boys saw me coming back, they really shouted for joy to get the wood – a precious article.  Later in August I was again requested to come out and write and have better living.  This time I accepted.  It did not last long, for an exchange took place – or rather removal – as Gen. Sherman’s army was at Atlanta and was very likely to pay a visit and free us.  I was one of the first batch leaving Andersonville, by a favor of Capt. Wirz.  I thought we were going to our lines, but what a disappointment in fetching up at Savannah in another pen or stockade on the Fair grounds.  Here I was allotted the job of overseeing the grave diggers, or rather trench diggers to put away the dead.  Received extra ration and it enabled me to go out every day doing some trading with the blacks and whites, which proved to be profitable.  I became acquainted outside with a German family, who were loyal and they supplied me with extra food and extra clothing, which by this time needed repairs and replenishing.  I shall never forget their kindness.  Our guards were not bitter and allowed us many privileges, especially to those who went out, as I did, with my grave diggers.  The food was also better and more of it; rice was plenty.  Around Savannah are great rice swamps. All this weary hungry time, we knew little of what was happening in our army.  Never saw a newspaper during my seven months of prison life and never heard from home.  Our thoughts centered on exchange.  From morning till night we talked about it and longed so much for God’s country.

    Our stay in Savannah did not last long.  The Rebs filled us with stories of exchange, set the date and hour for the first squad to leave.  It came and I flanked in for a first chance with high hopes to go down the Savannah River being taken on our transports.  To our horror and grievous disappointment, we arrived in Mellen.  It added many deaths to the long lists.  The Mellen camp was another stockade, with, however, plenty of room and a clear brook which was swarming with fish, but soon the supply was exhausted.  It was a fortune to find many felled pine trees, which gave us fuel with which to cook and warm up.  The nights became cold and on account of our lack of clothing much suffering existed.  A good many gave up hope and passed away.  Here my luck for extra ration came to an end and necessitated hard skirmishing to keep alive.  We were covered with vermin and the scratching and hunting the pests a thankless job.  It is wonderful how much a man can endure, if held up by hope.  It never left me.  I became acquainted with the Rebel Capt. commanding.  He seemed like a man who had some pity; in fact, was human.  I often talked with him.  He was not of the rabid kind.

    At last notice was posted for exchange of the sick and wounded.  Here was my chance.  I talked it over with the captain and suggested that the men were helpless and needed nurses to go with them.  Giving hem a silver watch and what money I had clinched the bargain.  It was a pitiful sight to see those poor wretches on crutches; some of them had to be carried; some even crawled on hands and knees to get out of the stockade.  We bunched up in a piece of woods waiting for our (parlor cars) cattle cars, and waited almost a whole day and night to be loaded – 500 human beings in all stages of misery but held up with the thought of going home.  During the night a number died.  It was bitter cold and the sufferings were awful.  I found a little Reb guarding us on a corner post.  He had a heart and turned his back to let me pass through he lines to get a big armful of brush to kindle a fire and get the poor fellows around it.  It was some risk because he could have shot me and no questions asked.  I talked to him after the fire got started and he seemed as pleased as I was and said:  “You don’t know how sorry I am to see those poor men, but it will not do to express sentiments in the open.”  At last the human wrecks were loaded and the train started for Savannah.  We arrived at last after a long and terrible ride in those filthy cars, among filthy men, sick and hungry and still hoping soon to be among friends and end out tortures.  Anxiously we looked about us, out of our cattle cars for signs of freedom and as usual hungry.  The people crowded around our cars and in some instances threw some eatables in the cars, which we devoured as a hungry dog would grab a sweet morsel of a bone and looking for more.  After some delay, the cars were run along the docks and we were transferred to a dilapidated, leaky and much used steamboat.  Even then we felt like distrusting our enemies.  Going down the River towards the offing, we discovered with unspeakable joy our transport with our flag flying fore and aft and all decorated with bunting.  O, what a sight!  Only one more anxious mount.  How beautiful the flag looked. A sight never to be forgotten.  We shouted, we cried, we thanked God for the sight of friends.  What an inspiration the flag carried; -- A guiding star, an emblem of power and freedom.  While I was not born under it, I have never loved any other.  I followed it through fire and smoke of battle and no one can realize just what the flag means and stands for unless he has gone through the experiences of a prisoner of war.  The transfer soon was made.  We left our enemies turning towards their cursed land and we on board of our magnificent steamer heading towards home, sunshine and plenty.

    All of us who were not deathly sick were stripped and washed and our rags thrown overboard with lice and all.  It felt good to be once more in clean cloths, complete throughout.  We were new men, human once more and in Heaven.  Next we received doctor’s attention and much care; hot coffee with milk and sugar and white bread, which we had not tasted for seven months.  The doctors cautioned us not to eat too much and very sparingly of meats.  We were a happy lot now.

    The sailors and officers all were very good to us and under improved conditions, which made themselves felt, we came to Camp Parole at Annapolis.  Our quarters were a King’s palace and our food delicious and plenty.  All received a thirty-day furlough to our homes, to our friends, our sweethearts, our wives, our children

    I lived, while home on bread and milk mostly and regained my health and strength.  Eating too much of solids produced fevers and many retuned prisoners passed away.  Little Allie, my dear little daughter, did not know me and often asked her Mamma:  “Mamma, who is that man?”  We soon, however, began to know each other and playing on an army blanket under an old cherry tree in front of the house with Grandpa Moore joining us, was great fun.  I was told whenever anyone asked her where her Papa was (during my imprisonment) he said he was shut up in a hencoop.

    At the expiration of my furlough I joined my regiment at Roanoke Island.  One company (H) was left there when we went to Plymouth and some few on different details had joined in all about 100 men.  The soldiering here was an uninterrupted picnic.  Very little duty, good quarters, good news from Grant and Sherman and our homes.  We lived high on wild duck and goose and the best of army food.  My friends, Relyea and John Gemch, with whom I shared quarters, were such good friends and are to this day.  We had a mud oven and Relyea was a fine cook.  The wild ducks and geese were so plentiful on the Sound, that we could go out any time in a boat with a little cannon and shoot them by the dozen.  Relyea had a knack of cooking and could make a dressing fit for a king.  Our hard tack and fine army pork and oysters made it delicious eating.  It was no burden to soldier it in this fashion.  How glad we felt when Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomatoc and Johnston to Gen. Sherman at Goldborough, only a short stretch from Newburn.  The end had come.  We were transferred to New Bern again; from their our next journey was to the starting place – Hartford, where we were paid in full and honorably discharged.

    On October 21st, 1907 at 1:00 p.m. in parlor cars 103 ex-prisoners left New Haven for Andersonville to dedicate the Connecticut monument, erected by the state and I was one of them.  It was different from our trip as prisoners from Plymouth in cattle cars.  We had a splendid time.  We had a doctor, nurses and waiters and everything heart could wish.  When we arrived in the early morning on the 23rd, the boys piled out for the prison stockade.  How different we found it from the Andersonville of our imprisonment.  The stockade had been removed and instead the grounds laid out, flowers, shrubs and trees growing in splendor.  Monuments of the different states adorn the grounds and the cemetery is a place of great beauty under good control and cared for by men constantly under a leader – an ex-captain of the Union army.  How restful it is!  The mocking birds sing their weird notes, but the sleepers sleep in 14,000 graves, caused through cruelty of the South.  Connecticut published a book, descriptive of our trip.  My friend Rbt. Kellogg and our lamented Col. Cheney and Rev. Jos. Twitchel, made magnificent speeches.  A great crowd gathered at the dedication. Many colored people, men, women and children (in the majority) – all well-dressed, clean and contented.  It was so different from slavery times.  Col. Cheney presented each one of us with a silk flag made at his works at Manchester, Conn.

    We had one genius with us – a player on a guitar and a good singer.  He kept the whole train in an uproar.  At every station crowds gathered to see us and this time they looked for no horned Yankee, as they had learned better.

    Many incidents I cannot recall and I may have made error.  It is more than 50 years since the war ended and to remember and write these lines at the age of seventy-seven, some allowance must be made for inaccuracy.  On the whole, children and grand-children, I hope will be pleased with this narrative.

 

                          Grandpa Bauer.

                          Jacob C. Bauer

 

April 7th, 1915.

 

 

Note: Some text was crossed out with pencil by the author.  This text was included and was represented by striking through the typed text.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Some text was crossed out with pencil by the author.  This text was included and was represented by striking through the typed text.

 

 

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