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To Bore or Not to Bore
Woman of Almost Thirty, A'
lo Fortuna .
RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL REEFER. I
BY JAMES MORRIS MORGAN
FROM the southern twilight of my umn of smoke. On our left were the early childhood memories there blazes endless fields of sugar-cane, with an ocout the recollection of a tragedy which, casional glimpse of a planter's house time and again, returns to trouble the set in a grove of pecan trees. dreams of my old age. I was an eye- At last, in a great state of excitement, witness of the blowing up and destruc- we arrived at the plantation of Mr. tion by fire of the Princess, the finest Conrad. 'Brother Charlie' jumped out steamboat on the Mississippi in those of the vehicle and ran toward the house, days. The night before the disaster my while I made the horse fast to a tree. I father and mother had kissed me good then mounted the levee, from where I bye and gone on board of an old dis- could see floating bales with people on mantled steamboat, which answered them; men in skiffs, from both sides the purposes of a wharf, to await the of the river, were rescuing the poor terarrival of the Princess, as they intend- ror-stricken creatures, bringing them ed to take passage on her for New Or- ashore. From the levee I rushed into leans. Early the next morning I went the park in front of Mr. Conrad's residown to the river to find out if they had dence, and there saw a sight which can yet left. The Princess had just drawn never be effaced from my memory. Mr. out into the stream, and as I stood Conrad had had sheets laid on the watching her as she glided down the ground amid the trees, and barrels of river, a great column of white smoke flour were broken open and the consuddenly went up from her and she tents poured over the sheets. As fast as burst into flames. She was loaded with the burned and scalded people were cotton. As though by magic the in- pulled out of the river they were seized habitants of the town gathered at the by the slaves, and, while screaming and
, riverside, and in the crowd I spied my shrieking with pain and fright, they brother-in-law, Charles La Noue, in a were forcibly thrown down on the sheets buggy. He called to me. I jumped in and rolled in the flour. The clothes had alongside him and we dashed down the been burned off of many of them. river road in the direction of the burn- Some, in their agony, could not lie still, ing boat. The road was rough and the and, with the white sheets wrapped horse was fast. The high levee on our round them, looking like ghosts, they right shut out the view of the river so danced a wild hornpipe while filling the that we could see only the great col- air with their screams. Terrified by the VOL. 119-NO, 1
RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL REEFER
awful and uncanny scene, I hid behind was born in New Orleans in 1845 — the a huge tree, so that I should not see it, spoiled youngest child of a large family but no tree could prevent me from which, when the great decision of 1860 hearing those awful cries and curses, came, was divided against itself. Willwhich echo in my ears even now. ful and high-spirited, his first educa
Suddenly, to my horror, one of the tion was drawn largely from the racing white spectres, wrapped in a sheet, his stables of his relatives, on whose great disfigured face plastered with flour, plantations he ran wild until, at fourstaggered toward my hiding-place, teen, he was offered an appointment and before I could run away from the as midshipman at Annapolis. The poshideous object, it extended its arms sibilities of a roving sea-life made an toward me and quietly said, 'Don't be instant appeal to him, and, after much
‘ afraid, Jimmie. It is me, Mr. Cheat- trial and tribulation, he squeezed past ham. I am dying, — hold my hand!'
! the examining board into the Naval And he sank on the turf beside me. Al. Academy, where he found himself though dreadfully frightened, I man- aboard the school-ship Constitution, aged between sobs to ask the question with a number of boys as green as himuppermost in my mind: 'Can you tell self. Among these were Charles S. me where I can find my father and Clark, who brought the Oregon round mother?' The ghostlike man replied South America during the Spanish War; with a cry which seemed to wrench his Robley D. Evans, better known later as soul from his body, shivered for an in- 'Fighting Bob'; Sigsbee, of the Maine stant, and then lay still. A slave pass- tragedy in Havana harbor; Gridley, ing by pointed to the body and casual- commander of Dewey's flagship at ly remarked, 'He done dead.'
Manila Bay, and others of equal note. A Creole negro woman then came Young Morgan was in the midst of his running toward me; she was stout and training when the war broke out — but almost out of breath, but was still able here he takes up his own story.) to shout out to me in her native patois: 'Mo cherche pour toi partout; M'sieur La Noue dit que to vinit toute suite!'
When I found Brother Charlie, he By the end of 1860 a dark cloud had was ministering to the maimed, but settled over our spirits and we no longfound time to tell me that my parents er spent our few moments of leisure in had taken another boat, and thereby skylarking, but, instead, discussed the had saved their lives. I returned at burning question of secession. We did once to my home, where I was com- not know anything about its merits, forted in the strong arms of Katish, but conceived the idea that each state my old black nurse.
was to compose a separate nation.
Harry Taylor, afterwards rear-admiral, (These vivid leaves, taken at random who was from the District of Columbia, from the first chapters of Colonel Mor- said that he was going with New York gan's memoirs, set the pace, so to speak, because that state had more commerce for a life-record of adventure that stands than any other one, and necessarily out even in these days, when our ability would have the biggest navy. He was to react to the prodigies of modern war- promptly called down by being informfare is almost exhausted.
ed that no one would be allowed to join James Morris Morgan, as he tells us any state except the one he was born in the earlier pages of his recollections, in, and he was further humiliated by a
much-traveled boy who asserted that boy. But the Confederacy was calling he had been in Washington, and that me, and I marched firmly on. The call the District of Columbia had only one seemed much louder at Annapolis than little steamboat out of which to make a it did after I reached my native land. navy, and that one ran between Wash- At that time I was very small for my ington and Acquia Creek, and she was age (fifteen), so small, in fact, that I rotten. Personally, I was insulted by was dubbed 'Little' Morgan, which being informed that Louisiana had been nickname has stuck to me to this day purchased by the money of the other despite my five feet nine and a quarter states just as a man buys a farm, and inches in height and over two hundred that, therefore, she had no right to se- pounds weight. With as much dignity ,
. cede. This was said in retort after I had as my size at the time would permit made the boast that by rights many of of my assuming, I took my seat in the
, the states belonged to Louisiana. So car and started for Washington. Then the wrangle went on day after day, un- I commenced to size up the situation. til the news came that South Carolina I had only twelve dollars, all the pay had in reality seceded, and the boys that was due me when I resigned, and from that state promptly resigned and there was a thousand miles for me to went home. Then followed the news of travel to reach my home; but what the firing on Fort Sumter. The rest of worried me most was the fear that the the lads from the South resigned as rap- authorities would arrest me if they idly as they could get permission from found out that I proposed to offer my home to do so I among the rest. services to the Southern Confedera
I passed over the side of the old Con- cy. I had no civilian togs, but I had stitution and out of the United States taken the gold anchors off my collar, Navy, with a big lump in my throat, on which they had left dark imprints, which I vainly endeavored to swallow, and put blue velvet covers, fastened by for I had many very dear friends among elastics, over the brass buttons of my the northern boys — in fact, affection- jacket. This, with the glazed cover of ate friendships, some interrupted by my cap to hide the silver anchor which death but a few others which have last- adorned its front, constituted my dised for more than half a century. To my guise, which I felt sure would be suffisurprise, my captain, George Rodgers, cient to enable me to slip through the accompanied me ashore and to the rails enemy's capital without recognitio . I way station, telling me, as I walked be- was just beginning to feel comfortable side him, that the trouble would end in when a motherly-looking old lady on a few weeks, and that I had made a the opposite seat disturbed my equagreat mistake, but that even then it nimity by asking me in a loud voice if I
, was not too late if I would ask to with- was one of those little Naval Academy draw my resignation.
boys who were going South.' That As we passed through the old gate woman surely had the making of a opening into the town, - the gate Sherlock Holmes in her. which I was not to pass through again I had not an idea as to what I would until my head was white, fifty years have to do to reach home after I arafterwards, — and walked along the rived in Washington; so, to throw the street, Captain Rodgers kindly took my minions of Abraham Lincoln further hand in his, and then for the first time off my trail, I went straight to the I realized that I was no longer in the house of Captain Henry Maynadier, navy, but only a very unhappy little U.S.A., an ardent Union man who had
married one of my first cousins. I told the rear platform of a car, bowing his him that I wanted to get home and had appreciation of the enthusiasm. I no money, and then, washing my hands found an unoccupied seat on the train of all responsibility, left the rest for him and was making myself comfortable, to do. He did it. He obtained a permit when a big, broad-shouldered, stumpy for himself and me to pass through the man waddled up to where I sat, and lines, and, hiring a hack, we started on said, 'Sonny, as you are so small and I our adventure.
am so large, I think we will make a The Union pickets held the Long good fit for this narrow seat’; and, withBridge; half a mile below, on the Alex- out further ado, he seated himself beandria road, were posted the Confeder- side me, first asking me to move so he ate sentries. Of course, with the per- could have the place by the window. mit, we had no difficulty in crossing the The train started amid wild cheers bridge; but before we had proceeded for Wigfall, the hero of the hour, and at very far on the road a man with a gun every station where we stopped crowds jumped out of the bushes and ordered were gathered, demanding a speech us to halt. The fellow was an Irishman from the great man. The stout fellow who had formerly done chores at Cap- with the short legs who was seated betain Maynadier's house in Washington, side me apparently took no interest in and, of course, he instantly recognized the proceedings and seemed engrossed him, at the same time crying out glee- by his own thoughts. It was some time fully, ‘Begorra! we'll whip those dirty after dark when we arrived at Lynchnigger-loving Yanks now that you are burg, Virginia, where the largest crowd coming with us!'
we had yet seen was waiting for the The captain said a few pleasant train. Many of the men bore torches, words to him, told him that I was going but they were not cheering for Wigfall; South, and asked him to see that I did they seemed to be in an ugly humor not miss my way to Alexandria where I about something. Suddenly there were was to catch the train. He also told me cries of 'Hang the traitor! Here is a to jump out quickly and ordered the rope! Bring him out!' as the maddendriver to turn around. I had hardly ed mob fairly swirled about the car. A reached the ground when the driver put man burst through the door, rushed whip to his horses and the astounded ир the aisle to where I sat, and said to picket, recovering from his astonish- my neighbor, ‘Are you Andy Johnson?' ment, raised his gun. I begged him not 'I am Mr. Johnson,' replied the stout to shoot, assuring him that Captain gentleman. Maynadier was coming South later. "Well,' said the stranger, 'I want to He did with Sherman! This occur- pull your nose!' and he made a grab for red in the latter part of April. In No Mr. Johnson's face. vember of that year, Captain Mayna- The latter brushed the man's hand dier and I were shooting at each other aside, at the same time jumping to his at Island No. 10 on the Mississippi. feet. There followed a scuffle for a few
Arriving at the railway station in seconds, and poor little me, being beAlexandria, I found a great crowd wild- tween the combatants, got much the ly cheering ex-Senator Wigfall, who worst of it. was a volunteer aide on General Beau- The crime for which they wanted to regard's staff and who had received the lynch Mr. Johnson was the fact that he sword of Major Anderson when Fort was reported to be on his way to TenSumter surrendered. Wigfall stood on nessee for the purpose of preventing