From the National Tribune, 4/27/1899, p. 5
AN ARMY NEWSBOY.
“A Kid’s” Reminiscences of the Fiery Front, With the Famous Old Iron
By “DOC” AUBERY, Milwaukee, Wis.
[Author begins by giving a
capsule history of the Iron Brigade and description of his capture on Dec. 12,
1862 after wandering into a Confederate cavalry outpost in Northern Virginia -
...OFF FOR LIBBY.
The next morning, in company with
quite a squad of soldiers who had been picked up as prisoners, we started for
Gordonsville, some few miles in our rear. On the way we met Lee’s army pushing
for the front. A more motley looking crowd I never saw - some with hats, some
with caps, some with coats, some with none. Through the holes in some of the
hats protruded a mass of unkempt hair, making them look more like thatched roofs
than human heads; more like station-house tramps than soldiers. All, however,
had guns, rifles or shotguns. It was raining very hard and was quite muddy, and,
taking it all together, it was not a pleasant journey. My friend, the Orderly
Sergeant, who was in command of the escorting cavalry, seeing me trudging along,
and seeing it was hard for me to keep up, said: “Come here, you little Yank.
Jump up behind here.” I did so, and rode with him until we reached Gordonsville.
He told me he had captured the horse we rode up in Pennsylvania. At Gordonsville
we stayed over night. Next day we started by cars for Richmond, where we arrived
in the afternoon about 3 o’clock. The streets were crowded with people. As we
passed down through them we were greeted with innumerable questions, the general
character of which may be inferred from the following:
“How are you, Blue Bellies?”
“Why didn’t yo’uns bring along
“Say, Yank, come outen that hat.
You needn’t say you ain’t in there; I see your legs.”
“Oh, look at dat little Yank.”
“Whah is yo’uns from, anyhow?”
After passing a long way through
the streets we were brought to a halt in front of a large three-story building.
On one corner was a sign that read, Libby & Son. On entering I was taken into
the office of the commandant, Maj. Thos. P. Turner, who was a fine looking young
man, and proved himself a gentleman. He asked me if I had anything of value with
me. I stepped into his office; he closed the door, and as I had $380 in
greenbacks, I told him how I had made it selling papers, and should have sent it
to my mother in Vermont had it not been for the fact of the express office being
closed when in Washington, and it was my intention to send it when arriving at
Army Headquarters. He patted me on the shoulder and said
“My boy, when you get out of here
come to me and get this package.” He took my passes, pinned them around the
money, handing me back the Confederate money given me by the Lieutenant at the
picket-line for Capt. Remington’s whiskey. We were placed in a room on the
second floor, directly over the room used by the guards. It was a very long
room, about 40x80; large wooden beams supported the floors. Two sailors who were
captured down on the coast were then the only occupants of the room. They, of
course, were anxious to learn where we were from. One of them took particular
interest in me after hearing me say I was from Burlington, Vt. He began to
inquire about my family. I felt that I had found a friend. He was from Winooski
Falls, a suburban town near Burlington. I learned his name was Benjamin Hoose.
After a few days of prison life we fell into the habit of
passing away our time playing “Puss in the corner,” “Simon says thumbs up,”
checkers and cards. I remember paying $2.00 for the cards.
[Narrative continues, National Tribune, 5/4/1899]
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