Page:Confederate Veteran volume 05.djvu/416

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
404
CONFEDERATE VETERAN.

of the four rascals slipped, and down came the heavy barrel of soap. There was a loud noise, and every one within ten feet was spattered with Mrs. Johnson's soap. Speechless with disgust and indignation, Johnson turned and walked off without a word, leaving his wife and daughter standing there. Whether he ever came back or not, I do not know.

"Harris and I left Hood's army shortly after leaving Atlanta, and went back to Mississippi and joined Forrest. We were stopping in Grenada. Late one afternoon a messenger came and said that Harris wanted to see me in his room. I went over at once, and found him sitting alone. He handed me a paper which announced Gov. Brownlow's reward of $100,000 for his capture. 'I must leave, Adair,' said he. 'How much in greenback have you?' 'I have $75,' I said. 'That is not enough,' said he. I went out and talked with the boys. They were all anxious to help him. Billie Forrest had $50 and another one of the fellows had $75, but all that was not enough. There happened at that time to be a gambler in town named Sherman, whom we all knew. He was a striking character, with a great black beard covering his shirt front. I told Sherman what I wanted, and he pondered for a while, then told me he would see his wife about it, and call on us at the hotel. About an hour later he came to Harris's room, where I was sitting. He smilingly said: 'Governor, what sort of game is this Adair is telling me about?' He sat down on the bed, laughing. Gov. Harris explained it to him, saying that he would give him orders on friends in Memphis, who would pay on sight. Sherman let him have $1,000, and Harris gave him the order, as he gave to all of us for the amounts we let him have. That night, accompanied by the faithful Ran, he left us to become a fugitive—not from justice, but from the political punishment that would have been visited upon his head. I saw him no more for a long while. That was in May. I had returned to Atlanta when I received this letter from him in November."

Col. Adair drew from his pocket a long letter, written on faded blue paper. It was a letter from the Governor, written while he was in exile:

"Cordova, Mexico, November 12, 1865.

"I lingered near Grenada, endeavoring to arrange some business matters, until the 14th of May. In the meantime I had had a skiff built, and on the morning of the 14th I embarked some six miles east of Greenwood and set sail for the Trans-Mississippi. The party consisted of Gen. Lyon, of Kentucky, myself, and our two servants. We navigated the backwater for one hundred and twenty miles, and on the morning of the 21st, just before daylight, crossed over to the Arkansas shore. I crossed at the foot of Island No. 75, just below the mouth of the Arkansas River, proceeded westward as far as the backwater was navigable, and on the morning of the 22st, I left my frail bark, bought horses, mounted the party, and set out for Shreveport, where I hoped to find an army resolved on continued resistance to Federal rule; but before reaching Shreveport I learned that the army of the Trans-Mississippi had disbanded and scattered to the winds and all the officers of rank had gone to Mexico.

"Having no further motive to visit Shreveport, I turned my course to Red River County, Tex., where a portion of my negroes and plantation stock had been carried some two years ago. I reached there on the 7th of June, was taken sick and confined to my bed a week. On the 15th of June, with my baggage, cooking-utensils, and provisions on a pack-mule, I set out for San Antonio, where I expected to overtake a large number of Confederate civil and military officers en route for Mexico. I reached San Antonio on the 26th, and learned that all Confederates had left for Mexico some ten days or two weeks before. On the morning of the 27th I started for Eagle Pass, on the Rio Grande, the Federals holding all the crossings below there. I reached Eagle Pass on the evening of the 30th, and immediately crossed over to the Mexican town of Piedras Negras. On the morning of the 1st of July I set out for Monterey; arrived there on the evening of the 9th. There I overtook Gen. Price and ex-Gov. Polk, of Missouri, who were starting to the City of Mexico the next morning with an escort of twenty armed Missourians. As I was going to the city, and the trip was a long and dangerous one to make alone, I decided to go with them, though I was literally worn out with over fifteen hundred miles of continuous horseback travel. I exchanged my saddle-horse, saddles, etc., for an ambulance, put my two mules to it, gave the whip and lines to Ran, bought me a Spanish grammar and dictionary, took the back seat, and commenced the study of the Spanish language. We made the trip at easy stages of about twenty-five miles per day, and reached the City of Mexico on the evening of the 9th of August. The trip was one of the longest, most laborious, and hazardous of my life, but I will not tax your time or mine with its details, many of which would interest you deeply if I were there to give them to you.

"Our reception upon the part of the government officials here was all that we could have expected or desired. We were invited to an audience with the emperor at the palace, the far-famed halls of the Montezumas. We were mostly kindly received by the emperor and empress, and were assured of their sympathy in our misfortunes and of their earnest hope that we might find homes for ourselves and friends in Mexico. The empress was our interpreter in the interview. She speaks fluently the French, Spanish, German, and English languages, and is in all respects a great woman. We overtook at the City of Mexico Gen. Magruder, Com. M. F. Maury, Gov. Allen, and Judge Perkins, of Louisiana; Gov. Reynolds, of Missouri; and Gov. Murrah and Gen. Clarke, of Texas, with many other and lesser Confederate lights. On the 5th of September the emperor published a decree opening all of Mexico to immigration and colonization, and Com. M. F. Maury and myself and other Confederates were requested to prepare regulations to accompany the decree, which we did, and which were approved by the emperor on the 27th. The decree and regulations offer very liberal inducements to immigration, among which are a donation of public lands at the rate of six hundred and forty acres to each head of a family and three hundred and twenty to each single man, a free passage to the country to such as are not able to pay their own expenses, freedom from taxation for one year, and from military duty for five years, religious toleration, etc.

"Com. M. F. Maury has been appointed Imperial Commissioner of Colonization, which makes his authority in the matter of colonization second only to that of the emperor. Gen. Price, Judge Perkins, and myself were appointed agents of colonization, and requested to ex--