CAPTURED AS A HORSE THIEF
By W. L. Farr
In March 1874 I started to Morgan County, Indiana with two horses I raised; had sold one to A.J. Whitesette, as the one sold was wild and hard to ride. I rode its mate one year older. Both were Wild Toms, natural pacers and fine roadsters. I road to Brazil, the first day, stayed over night, with Dr. McGuire. It rained all night but I made an early start in order to complete my trip that day. The streams being mostly bridged I made fine progress until I came to a stream unbridged just west of Reelsville, it had a high bank on the east side, with small bottom on the west side. I was sure I would have a swim of sixty feet or more to cross the main channel; about this time a boy rode up on the east side; I asked him if he thought I could cross in safety. He thought I could so I started in with the one I was leading below, so the current would keep her clear from the one I was riding, when I struck the channel the one I was leading began to rear and plunge, which started us downstream; 80 feet below was a large drift, I pulled with all my power on the halter, which threw her completely under. We then turned and started across, both horses making a fine swim, we landed safely on the east bank. I made up my mind in case the current took us to the drift, I would cling to it and let the horses go. I passed through Reelsville in a fast pace. Not dreaming that my close call at the stream and the horses were soon to bring me trouble. I will now state that a few days before my advent, they had received a card from Paris,Il stating that two horses had been stolen both natural pacers, and a reward of $50 offered. The boy told how I swam the stream, and my flight through Reelsville, made them conclude he is the Paris horse thief. So Collier with Constable and four other men, were soon in pursuit and overhauled me at Mile Creek, near Putmanville, and at once arrested me. I at first thought it a joke, thought they were drinking and wanted a little fun, but soon learned otherwise. I then called for the description card but they said it was at Reelsville, where I would have a chance to prove my property. I said, gentlemen these are my horses and you are the ones to make proof that they are stolen property. Billy Reel spoke up saying, if he was my prisoner I would handcuff him; I said, do it if you wish gentlemen but the man who does it will pay the penalty, then the Constable very cordially said, my friend this cannot be settled here, we will return to Reelsville, where we can telegraph your friends. On our way back we stopped at the constables home, fed and took dinner, Collier and his party going ahead. When we arrived at Reelsville, a large crowd had assembled to see the horse thief. I at once discovered that I had but a few friends, the operator called for me and said he was ready to befriend me in any way he could. I first thought of sending a telegram to I. M. Wright, I asked what it would cost, he said 2 or 3 dollars; he said Collier had sent one to Paris, so I told him I would wait to hear from that. The crowd was increasing, a little doctor said he thought Collier and prisoner favored, why so says Collier, because you have a long hooked nose, to hook into other peoples business; then I fired up, told him he was no gentleman, he said he was not alluding to me, but says I, you have Collier's and my nose mixed up, we had the laugh on the Dr., so he said he would treat and be friends. I had my horses put up and Collier took me to the tavern but the lady refused to keep a horse thief; then Collier said he would go to his house, take supper and wait for the telegram. It was not long until the house was full of men and women all anxious to see the horse thief. About 9 o'clock the telegram was brought over, fees to be paid before delivery, what is it said Collier, $6.75, he paid the bill, opened the envelope but failed to read it, hand it to me said the little doctor, and he read-horse found, then went on to describe saddle, bridle and so on. In the mean time the Constable ushered me into their midst and said, no thief, but a free man as I expected, stay all night with Pierson Collier, who footed the bill, brought my horses out in fine shape; he said he had drawn an elephant and had learned a good lesson. I went on my way rejoicing, made sale of other horse and came home by rail.
My Last Battle
By W L Farr
Co H 33d Ind
On the night of the 19th of July 1864, the 20th corps under Gen. Hooker, went into camp near Peach Tree Creek: I thought I never saw a better place for a camp. The timber was dense, but clear of underbrush, something that was not always the case in the state of Georgia. We were not long in fitting up everything for a good night's rest. Everything was quiet. It was the first time for over a month that we had not heard the sound of cannon and the rattle of musketry. After we had rolled ourselves into our blankets with the expectation of getting a night's rest, I was aroused by James Brewer of my Company (H) and one of the color guards, to go with them over to the 70th Ind., to see his brother, for says he things were too quiet, besides, said he, “I have a presentiment that this is my last night with you.” But I begged off and he went, and Jeff C Farr, our Lieutenant went with him to see his brother. They returned after midnight, but Brewer never slept any that night.
The next morning; the 20th of July, we crossed Peach Tree Creek, on pontoon bridges. We marched out South, half a mile to an old field that had been thrown out, our lines being formed parallel with the old fence which was almost rotted down. We stacked arms and were ordered to make coffee. Soon little fires were kindled and in a short time all were enjoying coffee and hard tack, with no thought of a battle. But all of a sudden a picket shot rang out, and another until it went by vollies. Gen. Coburn who commanded our brigade ordered us forward on the double quick. We soon met our skirmishers, who reported a heavy body of rebels advancing, and for us to make for a hollow in our front, which also ran parallel with our line, but ere we reached the hollow they began to open fire on us with musketry, then came the rebel yell, but they were soon stopped in their charge, as our position was almost like breast works and the boys waited until they were within forty yards before they fired. A volley from our lines was fired, the rebels wavered and fell back, but soon returned in three lines, but they in turn wavered and fell back. About this time we heard heavy firing and the rebel yell off to our right and soon a cannon ball from our own battery came hissing up our lines, the rebs having been more successful on our right, captured our battery and had turned the same on us. The 33d Conn. Which was in support gave way, but the 102 Ill., with their 10 shooters were called upon to retake the battery, which they did in grand style, together with a lot of prisoners. One of the officers of the 102 Ill., regiment said to a rebel Lieutenant, “Why did you not hold the battery?” “How could I Sir, in such a flame of fire and my men all killed.” On our part of the line, we could see that they were coming again in four lines. I was so sure that I would be captured that I dropped my watch chain in the fob with my watch. They came within forty steps, but our fire was too destructive, and their line began to waver like a string blown by the wind, but finally, fled for shelter. At this time I chanced to look to the rear and saw one of our boys, Bossell, in a full run. I knew he was hit and said, “Hello, Bossell, what will you take for your furlough?” His answer was, “Got to h-l!” One of his fingers was shot off, which gave him a furlough sure enough. By this time the rebs were advancing again. The boys were getting more anxious and would not go up the slope, so as to get a sure shot. I said to Brewer, “Do not expose yourself too much” But he stepped forward and when in the act of firing, was shot through the heart, and fell dead at my feet. So readers, you can form you own opinion as to whether it was or was not a presentiment of death. This time the rebels seemed determined to break through our lines, but the old vets were equally determined they should not. In our front there were five our six color bearers shot dead out of the 31st Miss. regiment, but their lines gave way and then it was our time to charge, which we did, capturing the colors of the 31st Mississippi and several prisoners. Establishing our lines at the top of the raise in the old road way, that had washed out from 3 to four feet deep, and gave us good protection.
That was the hottest battle and day I ever experienced. That night we removed the dead from the old road way and threw up good breast works. In moving the dead we found the Col. Of the 31st Miss., who was a fine looking man. I have his canteen yet. The burial parties the next day buried 1500 rebel soldiers and officers.
The battle was fought by the 20th corps and a part of the 4th corps. There was a gap between the 4th corps and the two divisions of the 20th corps. General Hood aimed to slip through the gap and capture a part of the 4th corps and the two divisions. His plans were well matured but too late.
A Trip Through Libby Prison
By W L Farr
Co H 33d Ind.
On the morning of March 4, 1863 the 33rd Indiana, 22nd Wisconsin and the 10th Michigan Infantry with two or three Companies of Calvary, and two or three pieces of artillery, broke camp at Frankland, Tenn., and started out in light marching order for Thompson Station or Spring Hill, a distance of 22 miles. Our march was uninterrupted until about 4 P.M. when our artillery began to skirmish with the rebel pickets. The infantry was hurried up for support, but we arrived in time just to give them a few parting shots and they quickly retired over the hill and out of sight, leaving 1 dead horse and 1 rebel. We marched 2 or 3 miles further and finding no enemy went into camp for the night, with high spirits and ready for the morning prey, the boys saying we were ahead 1 horse and 1 hat. A heavy picket line was thrown forward for the night, with orders to remain, with no relief, and strict orders to remain quiet. All was quiet until about midnight when I was awakened by one of our pickets, who had left his post and came in for hot coffee. He said he was freezing. I soon had the coffee ready and he filled his canteen and returned to his post and the officers were none the wiser.
The next morning we were up bright and early and on the move. About 10 A.M. the Calvary began a lively skirmish with the enemy, and soon orders were sent out to General Coburn, to hurry up with the infantry that the enemy had reinforced. We were ordered forward in quick time, soon reaching the Calvary, halted, formed line of battle, and a heavy skirmish line was thrown forward and began to advance and soon lively engaged. The boys in front were driving the Rebels fast, and now Comrades, you can believe or disbelieve I was anxious to go into that fight and said to my Captain that the skirmishers would do all of the fighting and get all of the glory, but before long the boys were forced back to the battle line. We were then ordered forward and soon hotly engaged. It was our first fight, and were eager to advance and soon pushed them back to a cornfield where they were reinforced and then it was our turn to give back. They then opened up on us with three batteries. The Colonel pointing and saying, “Boys, take that battery, and that means the tree.” We thought we could do that easily, and on we went down the hill and through the cornfield, while the artillery on both sides were making quite a noise, but doing little damage. We soon came to a depot and behind it a lot of empty box cars, here we were halted, line rearranged, then moved out for the assault, but it was never made for as we moved out from behind the cars the Rebels rose from behind stone fences, gave us a volley and with a yell charged, one man was killed and several wounded. It was evident they were led into a trap and the order came to retreat, which was in good order but rather hastily. When back to the top of the hill we had a fine view of the enemy who was advancing in grand style. When within 200 yards we were ordered to fire, as it looked as if half of their line went down, but on they came, within 40 yards, but when our line became so hot and destructive, they soon went back in a run to shelter. Some of the boys made a dash and captured one Johnny when they were ordered back. They soon returned with fresh troops and our left began to waver while our center was losing men fast, both in killed and wounded, so were ordered to retire and form a new line. We then learned that the Calvary, Artillery and five companies of the 22nd Wisconsin had fled and we were left to our fate, leaving our flank exposed. The Rebels seeing their advantage lost no time, and soon had our company completely surrounded. But we held one line for 2 hours, then our ammunition gave out and we had to surrender. The First Texas Rangers were the first among us, and ordered us to stack arms and the Rebel General, Van Horn, ordered us to stack arms, as the boys were making away with the Enfield rifles in various ways, the command was not obeyed. Then he ordered us double quick to leave the battlefield, and as that was not heeded, he swore that if that was not heeded he then would have the Artillery open up on us, he was answered and told to fire away, if he could stand it, we could. Our Colonel stopped the destruction of the arms and soon everything was calm. We moved off the field leisurely. I had visited in Texas in 1859, to see my two uncles, and other Hoosier friends in Denton County. So made inquiry if any of the Rangers were from Denton, it was not long until a Johnny presented himself, saying he was from Denton. I asked about my uncles and other friends, and he said he knew them all. While we were talking Jack Baker came up limping, being wounded in the leg, the Johnny said, “Here Yank, I have a horse right out there you can ride, while I walk with my friend,” and the horse was brought up and Baker rode to the Hospital. It seemed strange, that only two hours before we were deadly enemies, and now friends. My friend's name was Myers. Our wounded were all left at the Hospital, while the rest of us continued on our march to Shelbyville, the county seat of Bedford County. Our loss in battle was 50 killed and 150 wounded. There were 1350 of us captured and the rebel papers claimed a capture of 2000 stand of new Enfield rifles. We never learned the Rebel loss, but Myers told me he was sure that we killed and wounded as many or more than they captured. Myers walked most of the distance of twelve miles while some of those who were slightly wounded rode his horse. We arrived in Shelbyville in the night and were turned over to the provost guard. Myers told me goodbye and hoping we would meet again in old Denton and the d----d war would be over. We were paroled, I suppose for fear some of us would run away.
The next morning March 6th the citizens began to gather to see the Yankee prisoners and by noon the little village was full of men, women and children, who came to trade with the Yanks. Script seemed to be plentiful and they were anxious to let go of it. They paid for gum, blankets $15 and $20. Watches $40 and $50, pocket knife, $5 and canteens and edibles were high, but the corn dodger were reasonable and found a ready sale.
There was a lady spy under sentence of death, in a house nearby, but she was seriously ill, thereby her execution was delayed. We learned afterward that our Calvary made a dash and rescued her. That evening we started for Tallahoma, distance of 40 miles. We marched out for about 4 miles and went into camp. Here we drew our first rations, which consisted of 2 small crackers and one fourth pound of fat bacon per man, this was called one day's rations, but we ate it all at one meal, and did not half try. It rained all night, and we had neither shelter or fire. We could have had a fire as there was plenty of timber, but our guards were tyrants and refused us this comfort, so we either walked in circles or huddled together like hogs to keep from freezing. On the morning of March 8th, we took up the line of march again for Tallahoma, and all of the streams of our line of march were swollen. I remember one little stream in particular, it was deep and swift and the Reb felled a chestnut tree, put it across the stream and we were ordered to pass over, the log was placed from one end to the other with a Rebel officer at the landing side, and swore he would shoot the first man who tried to “coon” that log. When I was about half way, down went one of the boys in front of me and began to “coon” the log. The officer yelled at him to get up from there or he would blow his head off. He answered back, “Shoot and be d-----d,” I expected every moment for either or both of us shot, but our boys grabbed the officer and swore they would throw him in the stream if he fired, so we then passed over the log without further trouble. I never before walked a log more nimbly. When we were across we resumed our weary march through the rain and mud. We went into camp that night in a large Baptist Church and several buildings where yearly camp meetings had been held, and some of the seed must have fell on good ground for that night a small boy with a basket was admitted by the guard and the basket was proved to be full of edibles, sent by his mother. The boys offered to pay him, but he refused saying his mother wanted the sick to have it. He was busy most of the night, or until the guards thought he was getting too familiar with the Yanks and refused further admittance. The church and the buildings were a blessing to us that night.
It was still raining the next morning but we were ordered out in the line and marched on. One Yank was missing and we were relieved when about 10 o'clock the Reb brought in the escaped prisoner on the double quick. He was mud all over and looked as if he would fall at every step, but the threatening saber kept him on the go. We were much refreshed after a good night's rest. That evening at about 5 o'clock we had to wade through a slough about half quarter wide and from knee deep to waist deep, and by this time it was sleeting and a cold wind blowing from the north. A short march brought us to higher ground which revealed to us Tallahoma and General Bragg's entire army. We marched to a low flat and marshy piece of ground and camped for the night. We drew rations at about 10 o'clock that night which consisted of one pint of raw coarse meal per man. We had no vessels to cook it in and no fire to warm by, a good many mixed it with water and ate it raw. Now I tell you my countrymen, that a little embalmed meat might have been relished there. We huddled together to keep from freezing. At midnight we found Private Ray of Company A curled up by a big stump almost chilled to death, he begged the boys not to disturb him as he was felling fine, but they lifted him up and a man on each arm began to walk him, while others followed and begin to strike him with open hands until he began to revive, when the blood begin to circulate, the chatter of his teeth could be heard for ten yards. He had lost his cap and coat in the battle and was in his shirt sleeves, he revived, but poor fellow, he was killed afterward in the Atlanta Campaign. That was the toughest night I ever experienced in all my three years in Service.
It was on the 10th day of March and was equal to any storms of present March. The next morning we marched out of the bull pen and past General Bragg's headquarters and the roll was called by companies, and as each name was called he 'passed in review as it were' past the General's tent. If he had an overcoat, or any extra clothing, it was taken from him. There were two boys in my company by the name of Bragg, and the General wished to know if they were related to him. They swore they would not claim kin with a man that would steal Yankee clothing. I passed the review without being halted, luckily for me, I had traded, or was forced to trade my overcoat for a genuine lead butternut overcoat, almost new. I have thought many times it was a grand trade, as it served me as a pass by Bragg's headquarters and through the Libby Prison without being molested. Col. Colburn had quite a discussion with Gen. Bragg in reference to Colburn's fine overcoat, which he claimed was private property, and he had no right to take it. But, General Bragg too much delighted in his fancy for such a desirable prize, and the Colonel had to take it off (but the coat was later returned.) We were marched to the Depot and put aboard the cars for Knoxville.
They put us in box cars that were inferior ones at that, the wheels constantly creaked for want of oil. The engine was out of repair and even the old bell was cracked and could scarcely be heard from one end of the train to the other. The boys said to the Guard, “It was just like the Confederacy, going to pieces.” The road to Knoxville was rough and crooked, several bridges had been burned out by loyal citizens, and they had just finished a high trestle. It was constructed of round poles, and it was a very flimsy structure to pass over with a train load of Yankees. The train halted and the Guards and the Officers walked across, and another engine was hitched on through the tunnel in the Cumberland mountains. On the east side is a down grade for several miles, there our old rickety train almost flew, with all the steam shut off. Had our train jumped the tracks, we would have gone down cracking several hundreds of feet below. We arrived safely at Knoxville just before dark, unloaded, and went into Camp for the night. We drew rations and were allowed to build a fire, had a good night's rest and felt very refreshed the next morning. One of the Company “C's” boys died that night with lockjaw, he had been wounded in the hand. The Masons were allowed to go into town without a Guard, and when they came back, had their haversacks full of food which they divided among the boys. There were about 20 in my Company H, and the division was a good square meal. The Camp was near a scaffold that was to hang Parson Brown, but his little girl stood in the way, and a lady with a gun in hand came to the door and said she would shoot the first man that made an attempt to enter yard. The mod cowed, and finally withdrew, they were afraid of her brother, Col. Brownslow, who at the time was making raids in various parts of Tennessee. They were aware that if they hung Parson, it would mean death to all that participated in the crime. We felt like cheering, but were hustled away and boarded the train for Richmond. The Guards were from Alabama and principally old men, and the most ignorant set of soldiers we ever met up with. We were placed in stock cars, with one guard for each car, and the car door locked. It was not long before the Guard became tired and arranged for a nap, but before he was aware of anything the boys piled upon him four and five deep. He swore he would shoot, but when the scuffle was over, he was minus gun, bayonet and lock. I had expected trouble, but the train was on the move, and he knew he was powerless, so cooled down.
March 12, we boarded the train again for Richmond, and such a lot of cars to transport men in no one but Rebels ever saw, the wheezy old engines stalled at every up grade, and we were compelled to get out and walk. The country we were passing was rough and very poor, and our progress was very slow. We pulled into Lynchburg, a place noted for its rebelism, and they said they could make up a Rebel Regiment in one day. In fact, they were more bitter against the Yanks by far than any place we passed through, as we approached the Capital, Richmond.
We were finally ordered off the cars and marched to an old fairgrounds and took up our quarters. The next morning we were besieged with hunters, and soon a trade was established, there was a fixed price for everything that was sold. The Officer of the day said to us, “If any of the hunters sell above the fixed price, you will be at liberty to confiscate whatever may remain of the goods.” Finally in came a hunter driving an old mule to a cart and he began to sell his goods at a price above all reason, the boys seen their chance and before he was aware of it, his cart was capsized and before he was fairly on his feet everything edible was spirited away. How he did foam. We expected trouble, but the Officer was as good as his word said, “He was served right.” That evening we were marched back through the town and lined up in front of a photograph gallery to have a Yanks picture taken. Quite a few ladies gathered around to see the Yanks, and oh, how they fired into us with their tongues. Said one, “I guess you will be willing to go home and let us and our niggers alone.” Another one said, “Why you haven't any horns we'us heard so.” “No”, said the boys, “There are plenty with Rosecrans” (Rebel Regiment). In order to stop abuse we started singing “Rally Around The Flag Boys” and sang with such spirit that astonished all if it hadn't been for the words, I believe the music had wrought up their guilt feelings that they would have sang also. When we reached Richmond, our train switched off, but it was some time before we left the cars, when we did, we were marched direct to the Prison. By this time the snow was coming down fast. We were soon halted in front of a large brick building, at the main entrance hung a sign, “Libby & Son”. We knew then we were soon to enter the most talked about Prison. The building had been a tobacco house before the war. Our entrance had been very slow, as our names, Company, Regiment and Rank were taken. We then passed into another room where 2 men stood ready to search every man. I passed through without being searched. The Officers money was taken, but they were receipted for it. This they said was to keep the Officers from bribing the Guards. (I think their money was refunded when they left.) The Officers were placed below while the Privates were taken above to the fourth floor which, had we been allowed near the windows would have given us a fine view of the city, but we were warned not to approach nearer than ten feet. “Ross the Rebel Officer of the Prison” said you may expect an ounce ball of lead through the head, and pointing to the ceiling above said, “That ball up there went through a Yank's head.” We were lined up every morning and evening for roll call to see if any were missing. Ross was very abusive and a perfect tyrant. I saw him kick a poor sick fellow down the stairway because he was not prompt enough in taking his place in line. We drew rations one a day which consisted of pea soup and a very little lean beef, the boys pronounced it mule beef, it was brought up in buckets by darkers and each man with a cup served himself. Each one of us were reminded of our mother's slop bucket, which we had seen many times, when full, floating on top, biscuits, bread, scraps of meat, well, you know how rich some slop buckets are, all full of good edible, to a starving man, at least we thought so. The second or third day I was taken to the Hospital, I gave my watch, money and trinkets to my orderly, though was allowed one of my own Company's boys as a nurse (George Hamilton). The Physician was kind and attentive. Our Government furnished most everything in the Hospital. General Strait was an inmate at the time and the famous tunnel which he escaped through out of Libby Prison was afterwards completed, for some of the Generals and Officers were under sentence of death, hence they deemed it wise to be in haste and completed the tunnel. Some of the boys were brought into the hospital every day and it was soon full, but in eight or ten days were exchanged. They first took out of the Hospital all that were able to walk. I was not at that time even able to sit up, and I and many others cried like children because we were left, but the Doctor said kindly that we should leave in the next Squad, which he thought would be in eight or ten days. On April 2, the Doctor notified us that another Squad would be going out, so I braced myself up and declared I felt able to make the trip. The Doctor placed me under the care of Sergeant Shelton, Company A, of my Regiment, and soon left the fatal walls of the old Prison. But I soon went down and knew no more until I was placed on the train, and was told by Shelton to not give up, that we would soon see the Stars & Stripes. Such talk and other restorations the Doctor had given me had the desired effect. (Will say that 2 years ago I stayed all night with Sergeant Shelton, he knew the Doctor in Kentucky before the war and he was loyal to the old flag.) Hence it was now no mystery why we were so well treated while under the Doctor's care. I have always thought Shelton saved my life. The train soon pulled into Point City, the place of exchange. We could see the old Stars & Stripes on the exchange boat, and such a chant as went up from the boys, someone started up the “Star Spangle Banner” and we all joined in the chorus, it seemed as all sang, both Yank and Rebel. First the Rebel soldiers left the boat, looking hale and hearty, with heavy sacks filled with good grub, while our boys were starving, but some of the Rebs divided rations with our boys as they were passing. As I carried to the boat, I could hear the boys shouting, “Home Sweet Home” and “God's Country”.
My nurse, George Hamilton, soon had an old settee arranged I shape, which answered all purposes for a cot, an d I was resting fine, when suddenly Bob Norvel came in and sat down on me. I said, “Bob, you are hurting me.” About that time my nurse came in and seeing the intruder, soused his fork into him. Norvel knocked him down and was also felled by one of the 22nd boys, but was arrested and I never saw him again. He was killed by one of his own Company in Lafayette, Indiana. (We had had a scuffle just a short time before our capture, and I won - hence the malice). One of the sick men by my side died that night. The boys aroused me when passing Fortress Monroe, the balance was blank until our boat pulled along the moorings at Annapolis,Md., where the sick were transferred to the Hospital in the old navy yard, which was constructed under President Polk's Administration and was a fine structure. Everything here was well arranged for the sick but the Ward Masters were tyrants, as the next day proved. They came armed, demanded all our trinkets, and what little money the boys had, and then decreed that our long hair had to be cut off. Some were so sick that they were not able to sit up long enough to have it shingled, then the Wardens would give them a tirade of abuse, then, it was my turn, and I refused. They told me it was the custom, and my hair had to come off or to the Guard House, and they were about to enforce me into obliging when the lady who makes daily calls came in and they reluctantly retired. Then we told the lady we were more brutally treated by those 2 men then we were in Libby. She said there were no such orders, and she would report to Headquarters, in a very shore time, 2 Doctors were in the midst, and the two tyrants were ordered to pack their duds and be ready to leave for their Regiments in 30 minutes. Other Wardens were placed over us and we were treated fine. You see many times the Government is censored and abused for hidden causes that it is not aware of, as in the case above, for as soon as the abuse was reported, Uncle Sam was willing to rectify. Our fine treatment brought us to point to of convalescence and we were allowed the freedom of the Navy Yard.
From there we were sent to the Parole Camp nearby, where we found as fine a camp as any soldier could wish. But we were not content, as we wanted to go home. We had heard the First Squad that went out were home. I wrote to our State Agent in Baltimore that we were unnecessarily being held by someone. He answered he would see we left the next day which he did for Camp Chase, Ohio and from there were taken to the Parole Camp again, which proved we would be sent to Indianapolis the next day, but 4 days passed and no effort was made to send us home, so we conspired to burn the Barracks, so one of the out buildings was fired, and soon everything was in great commotion, but soon the flames were under control and the Officer of the day said very mildly, if we would make no further trouble, he would send us on to Columbus, where we might take the train to Indianapolis.
We were soon marched out under heavy Guard and put aboard the train on our way home. We arrived without further trouble in Indianapolis and were sent to Camp Morton, but trouble began again as they would not furlough us home as out Officer had not yet arrived. So the boys began to take French leave on furlough and started for their homes, but they were all overhauled by the Calvary and returned, and placed in confinement. The boys sent word to Col. Colburn's wife who lived in the city, that they were in trouble and needed her aid. She was promptly on hand and gave the authorities to understand these were her boys and to release them at once. Her orders were obeyed and all returned to Camp. Forever after that, she was called “Mother Colburn”.
In a day or two our Officers returned, and all were furloughed home. For a month, and that was the happiest month of my life.