Funding from the Library of
Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library
supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text scanned (OCR) by
Images scanned by Tricia Walker
Text encoded by Jill Kuhn and Natalia Smith
First edition, 1998
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research,
teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition
is a part of the UNC-CH
digitization project, Documenting the American
Beginnings to 1920.
Library of Congress Subject
Headings, 21st edition, 1998
Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
All quotation marks and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as " and " respectively.
All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as ' and ' respectively.
Indentation in lines has not been preserved.
Running titles have not been preserved.
Spell-check and verification made against printed text using Author/Editor (SoftQuad) and Microsoft Word spell check programs.
Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998
LC Subject Headings:
My father, Thomas Leeds Mitchel, of Groton, Connecticut, was a cotton merchant in Apalachicola, Florida, a small but important city at the mouth of the Chattahoochie River. As there were few railroads, all the cotton raised in the interior was shipped down the river to be compressed and taken down the bay, where steamers and sailing vessels were waiting to carry it to England or the Northern States.
Father was one of the earliest settlers, and held important positions of trust in city and church. His wife, Sophia Brownell, of Providence, Rhode Island, a woman of strong character, was well fitted to stand by his side
and help him establish a home in an almost new country.
The society of Apalachicola was unusually good. A number of Northern families who had been drawn there as my father had, and families from Virginia and other Southern States, brought together elements of culture and refinement unusual in so small and primitive a town.
Father, being a Northerner by birth and training, was essentially Northern in his sentiments. He did not believe in slavery. While he employed many negroes, he owned only three, and they had come to him imploring him to buy them, as otherwise they would be sold in the open market. They were faithful, valuable servants, and became real members of our family. One of them, "Uncle Young," as we always called him, was sent as a representative to the State Legislature after the war. But he never
forgot the old times, and not long before father died, he received a letter from him which began, "Dear Mast' Tom."
I well remember the excitement when war seemed imminent. Though only a very young girl, I was allowed to go to a mass meeting. I felt the thrill of it all, and though too young to enter into the merits of the question, was carried along by the general excitement and influence.
Father was a good deal of a philosopher, and, always looking on the bright side, was convinced that the war could not be long, and peace would soon be restored. As he had large properties in the South as well as his business, he decided not to go North, for he well knew everything would be confiscated if he did.
Our little city felt the shock of the first gun, fired on Fort Sumter, and almost immediately warlike preparations were started.
Being on the coast, the town was supposed to be in danger. Companies were formed and drilled. Batteries of sandbags, armed with cannon, lined that part of the town exposed to invasion from the bay, and there was much coming and going. Ladies met to embroider banners, and the ceremonies of presentation seemed to me most glorious and exciting events. Companies of young soldiers came down from the interior, and to my childish mind it seemed as though our part of the country was to be the seat of war.
This was in the spring of 1861. My oldest sister, Floride, was to be married early in the autumn, and mother wanted to go North to see her father and get my sister's trousseau. It was a hurried and hazardous trip, and she returned with much difficulty, being almost the last let through the lines. We were indeed glad to have her return safely, bringing the precious outfit. I feel sure no
one else could have accomplished it, but she was a woman of indomitable will and courage.
My sister's marriage took place soon after, and as I was one of the bridesmaids, war and all its consequences were naught to me for a while.
My next recollection was that Apalachicola was to be abandoned as an army post. The blockade had shut up the port. All the soldiers were sent to the interior except a company of scouts, which was stationed about twenty miles away, near some "dismal swamps," and used to keep an eye on the coast, and report any unusual occurrence.
Of course, business was at a standstill, and many moved up to Columbus, Georgia, and other towns on the river. My brother-in-law decided to go to Columbus, and I was sent, too, in order that I might go to school.
The steamboat was crowded and, as it was at the time of a great flood, there was
much to see and remember. The banks of the river were entirely under water, and sometimes the river was a large and continuous lake. Only those who have traveled on one of the Southern rivers can understand the romance and beauty of it all. The huge, moss-draped trees, the landings at night, with the negro crew singing their weird songs while unloading by the light of pine knots burning in wire cages. The trip was none too long for my excited fancy. My life in Columbus has always been a happy recollection. I loved my school and teacher, and the thrilling and dreadful events that took place touched me very lightly.
The next event of importance was that a brother two years older than I had been taken from the schoolhouse in Apalachicola by a detachment of soldiers, and conscripted into the Southern army. He was not allowed to go home even for a change of clothing.
He was below the age limit, which limit had been lengthened at both ends since the beginning of the war.
My parents were greatly distressed and besought the colonel to release him, but without avail, and he was hurried off to the camp.
Fortunately, he had some friends in the company who gave him food and cared for him as well as they could. The colonel said he had "no food for conscripts."
Not many months after this he came up to Columbus on a furlough, his health having broken down under poor food and the malarial air from the swamps. He was much changed from the rugged, healthy boy I had left behind in Apalachicola. We did all we could to repair damages in the short time allowed him, and were very sorry to have him leave us and go back to the privations of the camp.
The war progressed, but being so far from the scene of conflict, I was affected mainly by the troubles of my friends who had members of their families in the active army. Occasionally a father or son would be home for a while, and often the news of friends being killed in battle would shock the community, so there was little rest or happiness. I remember a feast gotten up for some Southern soldiers going through Columbus to join the army, and enjoyed waiting on the table. Though food was scarce and costly, every one gave of their best, and there was much cheering and enthusiasm. Quite a contrast to this, was our going down to the station to see a load of prisoners being taken to Andersonville. I saw no food or drink given them. They were huddled as close together as was possible, and all I could do was to pity their forlorn condition. It seemed only one of the natural conditions of war.
One day, coming home from school, I was met with the astounding news that my father had gone down to the blockading vessel in the harbor, taking my brother with him, and both were on their way North! The world seemed upside down for a while, and I was conscious that my eyes grew big with wonder and amazement. At last more tidings came, and we realized the whole situation.
My brother had had a very severe relapse of the fever, and his life had been in much danger, but the kindness of his fellow soldiers and his strong constitution had pulled him through; and when able to be helped to his saddle, he was told he could have a few days' furlough, to go to his family in Apalachicola. When he arrived after two days' riding and resting, he looked so very ill that it was evident he could not go back to camp, for the boy's life would be the penalty. Father's decision was quickly made. "How
long can you stay here?" he asked. "Two nights." "We will see about that," was the answer.
Father knew that it would never do to let him return, and the only alternative was to take him North by the way of the blockade. Everything had to be done with the utmost secrecy, for the lives of all concerned in the transaction were at stake. If any small detail miscarried, the consequences were fatal. The most difficult item was getting some one to row them down the bay. Once on board the blockade, they were safe unless the ship should be captured.
Father was so loved and respected in the town that he was able to overcome even this difficulty, and two men promised to be ready at the wharf at a certain time. These men had been in the habit of going down for oysters and fish, so their movements were not noticed. They had been suspected of
helping others off, but it could not be proved.
The next day was devoted to preparations. The trunk was wrapped in many folds of bagging and taken down in a wheelbarrow after dark. Later on my father and brother strolled down separately, each having nervous shocks.
Father met an old friend just as he arrived at the wharf. As father had been ill for some time, Mr. Ormand was much surprised at seeing him out at that time, and asked why he was there. Father said, "Yes, indeed! It is entirely too late. I must go home immediately." And walked back up the street, returning later, and reaching the boat unobserved.
Colby, when halfway down, heard some one running behind him. He was too feeble to run, so turned, to face his younger brother bringing something that had been forgotten.
They were finally off, and met with no other adventure during the five miles' ride.
The next morning mother stood at the back gate, and the man who had rowed them down the bay passed by. Neither appeared to greet the other, but he whispered "All is well." That was a great relief, but she did not hear of their safe arrival at the North for several months. The captain of the blockader treated them very kindly, and sent them to Key West by the fortnightly transport, and from there they went North to our summer home in Rhode Island.
Mother then had to face a very serious situation. Naturally, the people were much incensed over my brother's desertion, and no one could tell what the authorities might do. Left with four small children and another (myself) in Georgia, with very little money, and food scarce, there were many perplexities to meet, both immediate and in the
future. She knew that the only thing for her to do was to follow father as soon as possible. But first, she must get me down from Columbus, for she could not think of my being left behind. It would seem a simple thing for her to go up the river after me, but the war had brought about many unexpected conditions.
Fearing the blockaders would go up the river and burn the towns and factories, the Confederates had obstructed the passage with trees, rafts and other materials, which, in time, had accumulated still further débris of all sorts, so that the river was practically useless above this obstruction, which extended northward for miles. The problem was how to get around this obstruction. Beyond that, she could get a steamer. But the hardest trouble of all was leaving her little children behind. Dear old "Aunt Ann," a faithful colored nurse, could be entirely
trusted for service and devotion, and a relative promised to protect them. Though mother was brave, it was a hard trial to leave the young family and start off alone on the unknown but certainly dangerous journey.
She was rowed as far as the obstruction, around which she was carried in an ox cart, stopping for the night's rest whenever she could find a decent log house. She must have suffered many privations and much fatigue. Rowing against the current was slow and tedious work, and jolting over rough roads through the deep forests must have been lonely and fatiguing. Realizing that I could never endure such an experience, and hearing that the river had made a way for itself around the obstruction, though a narrow, swift and dangerous one, she resolved to brave it, and engaged a man to build a strong boat for the return trip, and take us down himself. He was an Italian
who had lived in Apalachicola, and was a man to be trusted.
Beyond the obstruction she found the rest of the journey easy, and she could rest a little before meeting us. That meeting was joyful, but full of conflicting emotions.
She was so worn from the journey that she hesitated about taking me back with her, and said she would have to leave me behind after all, but I had something to say about that, and exclaimed vehemently, "Mother, if you do not take me with you, you will never see me again!" So after resting a couple of weeks, the eventful return journey was begun.
I was sad at leaving my sister behind, but her husband and home were there, and as a family we had traveled so much, both on this continent and Europe, that we were used to partings, and I set out on this unusual journey without forebodings.
The distance from Columbus to Apalachicola was about three hundred miles. We took a steamboat to Fort Gaines, where there was a military station, and where we would have to get a passport which we must present at a small station quite a distance below the obstruction. This was to stop, if possible, the constant escape of deserters.
Immediately on our arrival at Fort Gaines mother went to the arsenal for the passport. She was met by a very agreeable young adjutant, who said he had not the power to give us one, but he was expecting the major back at any moment and he would give it.
The next day she went out again, only to have the same experience. The third day with the same result. On the fourth day I said, "Let me go; perhaps he will give it to me." Taking an attendant, I trudged along the two miles with great confidence, and was rewarded by being able to bring the promise
of the precious document. My youth probably appealed to the young man, and he could not help feeling that I ought not to be detained. We did not know it then, but found out afterwards that he had orders to detain us till the major came, as we were not to be allowed to go on. He said for us to make our arrangements for departure the next day, and he would bring the passport himself to the steamboat which would take us down to the obstruction. I was triumphant, but mother had her doubts as to his keeping his word.
The next morning we went on board, hoping for the best. The bell rang for starting, but still no adjutant appeared. At last, just when our hearts were sinking with disappointment and the gang plank was being drawn in, he came galloping down the road with the passport in his hand. He probably had hoped the major would come at the last
moment and relieve him of the responsibility. I never heard if he suffered from his disobedience of orders, but have always been grateful to him for his kindness. I still have the paper and treasure it very highly.
The distance to the obstruction was not great, and there we found "Bernardo" waiting for us with the new strong boat. My trunk and a few packages of food comprised the cargo, for we had to travel as light as possible. The other boatman, whom Bernardo had engaged, turned out to be a refugee like ourselves, and he was glad to give his services under the circumstances.
The river had utilized one of those bayous with which the Southern rivers are so well provided, as a means of escape around the obstruction. It had been widened and deepened by the force of the strong current, but as the stream carried off the banks the trees would fall in, making it much more dangerous,
and the utmost care and skill were necessary to bring us through in safety. Mother and I lay in the bottom of the boat with strict orders not to move, while the little boat was tossed about by the swift current. If we had hit one of the projecting trees, we would have sunk immediately. Mother thought of her four helpless little children left in Apalachicola, and must have made many and earnest appeals for help and protection. I do not remember how long this lasted, but our progress was very swift, and finally the tension was relaxed and we glided out into the smooth waters of the river. How lovely it looked after the mad turmoil and anxiety of the bayou.
The men rested a while, letting the boat float down the peaceful river, and we all gave thanks for our deliverance from the dangers we had encountered.
About eleven o'clock that night we found
a good landing, where we went ashore, and lighting a fire to keep the wild beasts away, we lay down on the ground for a little rest from our cramped positions.
Mother, worn out by the anxieties of the day, dozed off, but I was too excited by the novelty and beauty of the scene. The moon was full, and though just before Christmas, the weather was mild. The air was heavy with the scents of the forest behind us, from which could be heard, from time to time, the calls of owls, panthers and wildcats. We saw none, but there was always the expectation that one would appear.
We roasted peanuts in the coals and toasted bacon and corn pones. These were our only food during the entire journey. The river water, muddy though it was, satisfied our thirst. Supplies of all kinds had long been very scarce, and we had learned to be very thankful for little, and that of the simplest.
About four in the morning we resumed our way down the now placidly flowing stream. The banks were sometimes high bluffs, then low stretches of sand or clay, but more often tangled masses of trees and thick undergrowth coming right down to the water. No one could possibly penetrate it, and we were as alone as though we were the only inhabitants of the earth.
The exciting event of the morning was passing the little military post where the passport must be examined. I can well remember the rather overdone indifference of my mother and the stoical look on the faces of the men. The passport was only for mother and me. It said nothing about the men, and at first it seemed as though there would be some trouble, but it was so obvious that we must have some one to do the rowing that we were given permission to go on. But it was not till we had left the post several miles behind
that we were really at ease. The rest of the trip was uneventful. The men rowed and rested. We always made progress, as the flow of the river was several miles an hour.
We hoped to reach home before dark of the second day in the little boat, but the men were nearly exhausted and could not row steadily. Finally we came out into the big bay in front of the city, and, oh, how little and frail our boat seemed, especially as it had begun to leak and mother and I had to take turns bailing.
But all things come to an end at last, and about midnight we climbed up on the deserted wharf of unfortunate Apalachicola. Little did it look like the busy, thriving place of two years before. Instead of high piles of cotton bales, grass was growing in the streets. Where innumerable negroes used to work busily there was silence and
loneliness. The life of the city was gone. Poor Apalachicola! Her glories had departed.
The scene made a vivid impression on my youthful imagination, and I realized in a degree how sad and forlorn it was.
We were glad to be on our feet after the confinement of the boat. No one knew when we would arrive; all were asleep; and the walk to our home seemed like going through a dead city. It reminded me of the old story of "The Sleeping Beauty."
However, the faithful nurse slept with one eye open, and we were soon surrounded by the little family. The meeting was almost too pathetic for joy, and tears and laughter were about evenly distributed.
It was certainly an unusual scene. Aunt Ann, the old nurse, as well as the children, had rushed out in their nightclothes, and we embraced each other in the garden
among the orange trees, regardless of the neighbors. The excitement stimulated us for the moment, but we were so exhausted that we were soon put to bed.
It was fortunate that we arrived as we did, for the food question had grown to be a very serious one for the old negro, as the simple supply was nearly exhausted.
Agriculturally, Apalachicola was unfortunately situated, being built on a sand bank. Almost every one who could get away had gone, and there were few negroes to cultivate what little soil there was. No steamers could come down the river, and if any one went down the bay for fish and oysters, he was suspected of sympathizing with the Northerners. That left the city dependent on an occasional barge coming down the lower part of the river with corn meal. Of other food there was none except a few sweet potatoes. There were no cattle, consequently
no meat; no poultry, as there was no food for them. Our cow had died from lack of food. She had lived quite a while on cotton seed, but gave very little milk, and at last was buried in the back yard.
Before father left he had found several casks of rice in one of his empty warehouses. It was taken to the house, and he thought it would last a long time. But one day mother discovered that weevils were in it and put it out in the yard on sheets. The neighbors saw it and soon a crowd collected and demanded the rice. Mother knew they would take it by force if she refused, so yielded, giving each a little till nearly all was gone. After the supply of rice was exhausted there was little good food to be had. Corn meal, with an occasional treat of oysters, was the steady bill of fare. Once the supply of meal was so low that mother went to a friend saying, "I hear you have some corn meal;
you must divide with me; I have almost nothing for my children." Once there was a report that a barge was in sight, and all flocked to the wharf, only to see the barge upset and the whole cargo dumped into the water. One can imagine the scene!
I had fared rather better in the interior, and found the food very unpalatable, but hunger is the best of sauces, and I soon found an appetite for the simple fare.
As soon as mother had rested she began to plan for our going North. She knew we would have to wait till spring, as none of us was prepared to face the rigors of a Northern winter. She sent a note to the captain of the "Somerset," which he acknowledged by calling one day when he came up to burn a few houses. He said that when she was ready he would come up for us, and take care of us till the transport came from Key West, so her anxieties on that score were at rest.
One day we heard that the town was excited about two men who had been missing for some time, and that a search party had started out in quest of them. Mother was much worried, as they were the men who had taken father and Colby down the bay. Later one of the scouts who came regularly to town said if the men were wanted they could be found at a certain place. Both had been dead some time. They had been tied to trees and shot at by the whole company. They had been suspected of helping others besides father, and of certain other acts that brought them under suspicion of disaffection. All this was a great shock to us. I remember the day that the wife of one of them came to mother and asked her if she had ever told who took father off. Mother's feelings can well be imagined, but she could answer with a clear conscience that she never had.
Towards March the captain sent a letter saying he had received orders not to take any more refugees, as there had been so many, and they always came so poor, and many of them were ill from exposure. The government was tired of supporting them, consequently he would be unable to give us the required assistance.
This sounded very discouraging, but mother's determination was not at all shaken. She knew we could not stay in Apalachicola and starve. There were some islands in the bay on which were a few old houses, and she felt sure she could find shelter there till the fortnightly transport came, so she began her preparations. She packed the articles she felt she must save if possible, and everything was arranged for leaving at a moment's notice.
Not long after, word was brought that the launches were coming up the bay. Mother
immediately started for the wharf and met the captain, saying, "I am now ready to go back with you." He laughed and said, "Well, make your packages small." The result was that she, with her five children, and fifteen pieces of luggage, were put safely on board the launches, and we bid farewell to our Southern home.
The people turned out to see us off, and the presence of the various officers, to say nothing of several small cannon, sufficed to insure us a respectful treatment.
On the way mother explained her plan to the captain, but he scorned it, saying, "I will take you over the island after lunch, and you can see for yourself, but I could not think of letting you stay there. I shall be very happy to have you as my guests." It was a new and wonderful experience for us youngsters and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
I must say here that the "Somerset" was
a reconstructed ferryboat that previously had plied between New York and Brooklyn. This ferryboat, returned to her original condition, is still carrying passengers to and fro between the same cities, at Fulton Ferry, and whenever I chance to cross on her I am overwhelmed with recollections, most of them very pleasant.
Lunch was served as soon as we arrived, and words cannot express our joy at seeing whitebread and butter, apples and cake, beside other luxuries, spread out before us. It seemed almost like sacrilege to eat such precious delicacies. The captain enjoyed our delight, and mother shed tears at seeing her children eat all they wanted. It is almost impossible to describe how happy we were the next two weeks. The ship and every one on board were at our disposal.
The ship's tailor made beautiful suits for the three boys, and lamented that he could
not do the same for the rest of us. We were a shabby looking lot, as to clothing, for nothing had been bought for two years, and growing children are not very careful. Some brown linen curtains had been found in one of father's stores and made into shirts for the boys and dresses for the girls. Shoes had been made out of stiff pieces of cloth, etc. It is useless to enter into these little details, for there would be no end to my story, and they are not essential.
The captain sent the boys to the mess-room, and the rest of us lived in his dining room. We were sent ashore each day for exercise and play, were allowed to bring shells and other treasures on board, and were petted and feasted and very, very happy. In fact, nothing was too good for us. The truth was that these men had been shut off from family life so long, many of them having children at home, that they were as happy as
we, and it was a pleasant break in their monotonous routine.
One day the captain said to mother, "I know that whatever Confederate money you have is worthless, and you cannot possibly have any 'greenbacks,' so you must be without funds, and how will you get this family to Rhode Island?" She replied with much spirit, "It is my own affair how much or how little I have. I expect my husband has sent some money to Key West for my use." "Very well," said he, "I have ten thousand dollars here - prize money - that I want deposited in New York, and it would be a favor to me if you would carry it with you, using as much as you need, and your husband can replace it at his convenience."
"Oh," said mother, "I have all the responsibility I can bear now. I could not possibly take your money." "Have you one hundred dollars?" asked the captain. "No." "Have
you fifty?" Such persistence brought the climax. "I'll tell you just how much I have. Twelve gold dollars that belong to Cora." "I thought as much," said he. "Now, I insist upon your taking five hundred dollars, for you will need a good deal as soon as you leave us." Such kindness could not be resisted and was accepted with much gratitude.
The days flew by very swiftly. Once a vessel was seen trying to run the blockade, and though we went after her with all haste, she made her escape. Another day we went ashore to see the men casting a seine. Quite large fish were caught and made good sport for the fishermen. Every time we went ashore, we were carried on the backs of the sailors, as the water was too shallow to permit even the small boats to land.
We enjoyed it all so much that if we had not had home in view we should have been
very sorry when we saw the "Honduras" arrive, and knew that the time had come for us to leave our kind friends. The "Somerset" family was sincerely sorry to lose us, for our stay had been mutually pleasant.
However, the "Honduras" proved to be as happy a home as the "Somerset," and our life on board for four days has always been a pleasant recollection. We stopped at Tampa and Cedar Keys, both very beautiful harbors, and distributed rations, mail, ammunition and other necessities at the blockading points. It was very interesting to watch.
When we arrived in Key West another problem presented itself. The town was full of refugees. The one hotel was crowded to its fullest capacity, and no boat from New Orleans in sight. It was after Butler had taken New Orleans, and a regular line of steamers plied between that city and New York. Yellow fever had broken out in Key
West, and the expected steamer might not even come to the wharf.
Several of the officers of the "Honduras" said they knew of a place which was respectable, but they could not say more for it, but if mother would go there they too would live there till they had to leave for a return trip. Their presence added greatly to our comfort and safety.
While in Key West we were made happy by a visit from our old slave and cook, Aunt Sally. She was a Virginia darky and a first-class servant. Before mother had gone to Columbus for me the negroes had begun to leave for Key West in large groups. Aunt Sally came to mother and said she wanted to go, and mother made no opposition. In fact, she was glad to have her go, as it made one less to feed. She knew Aunt Sally would always be able to take care of herself, as she was an accomplished laundress. I remember
well when she first came to us. She was to be sold, and being such a fine woman, was allowed time to find her own master. Failing that she would be sold to the highest bidder in the open market. She went down on her knees before my father, imploring him to buy her as an act of charity. She was overcome with joy when he consented, for she knew she would be kindly treated. I used to stand beside her in the evening when she was making bread. She would entertain me by telling interesting stories and singing the old plantation songs, only one of which I remember, and only three verses of that. The music is a quaint minor, and I always loved it:
it hadn't been for Adam and Eve,
There never would have been no sin;
But Adam and Eve am dead and gone
And we have de debt for to pay.
Shout, Chilluns! to ease my troubled mind.
corn in de field is a-ripening,
And de laborers dey are but a few;
How can you stand so idle there
When there's so much work for to do?
Shout, Chilluns! to ease my troubled mind.
down into de Valley,
Way down into de Valley,
I see my Lord a-coming for
To ease my troubled mind.
Shout, Chilluns! to ease my troubled mind."
I have often tried to find this song among collections of negro melodies, but have never been successful.
Aunt Sally heard we were in Key West, and immediately came to see us, and took us children in her motherly arms.
After ten days there was a rumor that the steamer from New Orleans was in sight, and mother flew to the dock full of resolution and hope. When the captain saw her he said very decidedly, "Madam, I have no room. Everything is as full as possible." "But my daughter and I can sleep on the cabin floor." "Oh," said he, "if you have a daughter, then it is absolutely impossible." "Captain," she replied, "I have five children, and we are all going with you." The thought that that was the last steamer for the summer and yellow fever surely carrying us off if we stayed, gave force to her manner.
The captain wilted, and said meekly, "I have one stateroom, dark as night all the time, and flooded each morning when the
decks are washed." "I will take it, whatever it is. When do you leave?" "Get your children immediately, for we leave as soon as possible, any moment."
How her heart must have jumped for joy when we sailed away from the fever-stricken city into the pure air of the Gulf and knew we were headed toward home.
The fever raged in full force that summer and many, especially negroes, died. As we never heard from Aunt Sally, we felt sure she was one of the victims.
This part of our journey was very different from our previous experiences. We were no longer honored and feasted. We were only one group among many forlorn refugees. We were shabby and neglected. Part of the time we were seasick, and always uncomfortable in our cramped quarters. The boys looked neat in their sailor suits, but the rest of us were, to say the least, not
dressed in the latest fashion. The first day my brother Tom was wandering alone about the saloon, when an officer ordered him to go forward, saying, "No sailors were allowed aft." It took a good deal of explanation before he was satisfied that the boy was a passenger, for the suit was so exactly right that he could hardly be convinced that it belonged to a landsman. That was before it was the fashion for boys to wear sailor suits. The rest of my story is not very thrilling. We arrived at our home in Rhode Island after an uneventful trip to New York, and were welcomed by my father and brother, who had passed a long and lonely winter. The old farm seemed a haven of rest and plenty after our hard experience in Apalachicola.
Several of our kind naval friends have visited us since then, and we were very happy
at being able to offer hospitality to those who had befriended us in time of peril and need.