Bell had been elected president, in 1860. She and her daughter cordially invited the editor to accompany them to Nashville, on his way home. But this he declined because he wished to visit some near relatives near Milliken's Bend, in Louisiana.
On the 28th of November, the editor started for New Orleans, on his way home. Fortunately for them, the Bell party had already gone. The weather was inclement and the river was filled with floating ice. A few miles north of Cairo, his steamer, Palestine, was stranded by the ice upon a sand-bar and her passengers were in a precarious and uncomfortable state for several days. On the fourth day, whilst some of them were making a raft, on which the editor worked, even by night, that he might have a claim to go ashore on it, a yawl, which had been wagoned from Cairo, was launched and reached the steamer. In it the editor got to land, and afterwards to Cairo, on a wagon without body or seat. Thence a new passage was taken, on a better boat; but she stopped very often for freight and frequently got aground; so that, with a visit of one day to relatives at Milliken's Bend, 19 days were occupied in getting from St. Louis to the Crescent City! The editor employed part of this time in composing some letters to his friend John Hampden Pleasants, in favor of railroads