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    Chapter 58

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    Chapter 59
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    WE LEAVE SAVANNAH--MORE HOPES OF EXCHANGE--SCENES AT DEPARTURE
    --"FLANKERS"--ON THE BACK TRACK TOWARD ANDERSONVILLE--ALARM THEREAT
    --AT THE PARTING OF TWO WAYS--WE FINALLY BRING UP AT CAMP LAWTON.

    On the evening of the 11th of October there came an order for one
    thousand prisoners to fall in and march out, for transfer to some other
    point.

    Of course, Andrews and I "flanked" into this crowd. That was our usual
    way of doing. Holding that the chances were strongly in favor of every
    movement of prisoners being to our lines, we never failed to be numbered
    in the first squad of prisoners that were sent out. The seductive mirage
    of "exchange" was always luring us on. It must come some time,
    certainly, and it would be most likely to come to those who were most
    earnestly searching for it. At all events, we should leave no means
    untried to avail ourselves of whatever seeming chances there might be.
    There could be no other motive for this move, we argued, than exchange.
    The Confederacy was not likely to be at the trouble and expense of
    hauling us about the country without some good reason--something better
    than a wish to make us acquainted with Southern scenery and topography.
    It would hardly take us away from Savannah so soon after bringing us
    there for any other purpose than delivery to our people.

    The Rebels encouraged this belief with direct assertions of its truth.
    They framed a plausible lie about there having arisen some difficulty
    concerning the admission of our vessels past the harbor defenses of
    Savannah, which made it necessary to take us elsewhere--probably to
    Charleston--for delivery to our men.

    Wishes are always the most powerful allies of belief. There is little
    difficulty in convincing a man of that of which he wants to be convinced.
    We forgot the lie told us when we were taken from Andersonville, and
    believed the one which was told us now.

    Andrews and I hastily snatched our worldly possessions--our overcoat,
    blanket, can, spoon, chessboard and men, yelled to some of our neighbors
    that they could have our hitherto much-treasured house, and running down
    to the gate, forced ourselves well up to the front of the crowd that was
    being assembled to go out.

    The usual scenes accompanying the departure of first squads were being
    acted tumultuously. Every one in the camp wanted to be one of the
    supposed-to-be-favored few, and if not selected at first, tried to "flank
    in"--that is, slip into the place of some one else who had had better
    luck. This one naturally resisted displacement, 'vi et armis,' and the
    fights would become so general as to cause a resemblance to the famed
    Fair of Donnybrook. The cry would go up:

    "Look out for flankers!"

    The lines of the selected would dress up compactly, and outsiders trying
    to force themselves in would get mercilessly pounded.

    We finally got out of the pen, and into the cars, which soon rolled away
    to the westward. We were packed in too densely to be able to lie down.
    We could hardly sit down. Andrews and I took up our position in one
    corner, piled our little treasures under us, and trying to lean against
    each other in such a way as to afford mutual support and rest, dozed
    fitfully through a long, weary night.

    When morning came we found ourselves running northwest through a poor,
    pine-barren country that strongly resembled that we had traversed in
    coming to Savannah. The more we looked at it the more familiar it
    became, and soon there was no doubt we were going back to Andersonville.

    By noon we had reached Millen--eighty miles from Savannah, and
    fifty-three from Augusta. It was the junction of the road leading to
    Macon and that running to Augusta. We halted a little while at the "Y,"
    and to us the minutes were full of anxiety. If we turned off to the
    left we were going back to Andersonville. If we took the right hand
    road we were on the way to Charleston or Richmond, with the chances in
    favor of exchange.

    At length we started, and, to our joy, our engine took the right hand
    track. We stopped again, after a run of five miles, in the midst of one
    of the open, scattering forests of long leaved pine that I have before
    described. We were ordered out of the cars, and marching a few rods,
    came in sight of another of those hateful Stockades, which seemed to be
    as natural products of the Sterile sand of that dreary land as its
    desolate woods and its breed of boy murderers and gray-headed assassins.

    Again our hearts sank, and death seemed more welcome than incarceration
    in those gloomy wooden walls. We marched despondently up to the gates of
    the Prison, and halted while a party of Rebel clerks made a list of our
    names, rank, companies, and regiments. As they were Rebels it was slow
    work. Reading and writing never came by nature, as Dogberry would say,
    to any man fighting for Secession. As a rule, he took to them as
    reluctantly as if, he thought them cunning inventions of the Northern
    Abolitionist to perplex and demoralize him. What a half-dozen boys taken
    out of our own ranks would have done with ease in an hour or so, these
    Rebels worried over all of the afternoon, and then their register of us
    was so imperfect, badly written and misspelled, that the Yankee clerks
    afterwards detailed for the purpose, never could succeed in reducing it
    to intelligibility.

    We learned that the place at which we had arrived was Camp Lawton, but we
    almost always spoke of it as "Millen," the same as Camp Sumter is
    universally known as Andersonville.

    Shortly after dark we were turned inside the Stockade. Being the first
    that had entered, there was quite a quantity of wood--the offal from the
    timber used in constructing the Stockade--lying on the ground. The night
    was chilly one we soon had a number of fires blazing. Green pitch pine,
    when burned, gives off a peculiar, pungent odor, which is never forgotten
    by one who has once smelled it. I first became acquainted with it on
    entering Andersonville, and to this day it is the most powerful
    remembrance I can have of the opening of that dreadful Iliad of woes.
    On my journey to Washington of late years the locomotives are invariably
    fed with pitch pine as we near the Capital, and as the well-remembered
    smell reaches me, I grow sick at heart with the flood of saddening
    recollections indissolubly associated with it.

    As our fires blazed up the clinging, penetrating fumes diffused
    themselves everywhere. The night was as cool as the one when we arrived
    at Andersonville, the earth, meagerly sodded with sparse, hard, wiry
    grass, was the same; the same piney breezes blew in from the surrounding
    trees, the same dismal owls hooted at us; the same mournful
    whip-poor-will lamented, God knows what, in the gathering twilight.
    What we both felt in the gloomy recesses of downcast hearts Andrews
    expressed as he turned to me with:

    "My God, Mc, this looks like Andersonville all over again."

    A cupful of corn meal was issued to each of us. I hunted up some water.
    Andrews made a stiff dough, and spread it about half an inch thick on the
    back of our chessboard. He propped this up before the fire, and when the
    surface was neatly browned over, slipped it off the board and turned it
    over to brown the other side similarly. This done, we divided it
    carefully between us, swallowed it in silence, spread our old overcoat on
    the ground, tucked chess-board, can, and spoon under far enough to be out
    of the reach of thieves, adjusted the thin blanket so as to get the most
    possible warmth out of it, crawled in close together, and went to sleep.
    This, thank Heaven, we could do; we could still sleep, and Nature had
    some opportunity to repair the waste of the day. We slept, and forgot
    where we were.
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