From the National Tribune, 4/7/1904
Adventures of a Tennessee Refugee.
By JASPER N. ACREE, Co. C, 1st Ky. Cav.
Soon after Gen. Burnside moved
from Kentucky into Tennessee to occupy Knoxville, in September, 1863, a
detachment of Wolford’s command, about 100 scouting in the Hiwassee Valley,
encountered a heavy force f rebel cavalry, and in an ensuing skirmish seven of
us were captured and sent to Richmond, where we were confined in “Libby,” a
large tobacco warehouse with a brick floor, the windows facing one of the main
business sections of the city. Standing by one of these windows I could see and
hear a great deal of what was happening in the street. In the marts prices were
fabulously high. People carried large rolls of money in their hands.
When I entered the prison the
rebels took possession of my money, assuring me, however, that it would be
returned when I should be exchanged, or otherwise released. A few of the
prisoners managed to retain their money, in whole or in part. One young soldier,
who had succeeded in keeping his money, was in the habit of displaying his roll
of greenbacks in the presence of his fellow prisoners. One day he exhibited a
$10 bill, and while a group was examining it, I casually read aloud the name of
the register of the Treasury, “J. E. Chittenden,” engraved on the face of the
“J. R. Chittenden you mean,” said
“No,” said I, “ the middle
initial is an E, not an R.”
He persisted in his contention,
and to settle the matter, I staked $20 against his $10 note that the letter was
an E, the arbiter to be an old Chaplain, who knew nothing of our controversy.
When the letter was pointed out to him he promptly declared that it was an E.
His decision made me a winner, but the god man did not know that he had decided
a wager. At first my conscience forbade my taking the bill, but, reflecting that
he had more money and that the $10 might “come handy in an emergency,” I quieted
my conscience and accepted the bill. If he had won, I could not have paid him
until some time in the uncertain future.
Contrary to the regulations, the
guards would occasionally permit people to approach the windows and sell
provisions to the prisoners who had money. In order to provide myself with
convenient change, I exchanged my $10 bill for $100 in small denominations of
Confederate money. My $100, however, soon vanished. When I bought provisions, I
divided with the hungry fellows around me, and when, in November, I was
transferred to Danville I had only $2 left. [remainder of narrative details
life and escape at Danville, and was not transcribed.]
last updated on