Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/146

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papers had his imagination inflated to extreme tightness before his second cigar was finished. Each paper had distinct and detailed accounts of thousands of men and trains of war material; and so precise were they in their statements, that even the officers commanding were named. These statements were all false. There were no thousands of men moving on St . Albans, nor on any other point, as the sequel shows. The best way to give a correct idea of the numbers of the Fenian " armies," is simply to state what was seen by a man who was there.

At six o'clock on the morning of the 25th, I arrived in St. Albans. There were about sixty Fenians on the train—forty from Boston under command of Major Hugh McGuinness, and about twenty who were taken in at the various stations. When the train arrived at St. Albans these men passed quietly through the town, and proceeded to the front, beyond Franklin, which is seventeen miles beyond St. Albans. Along the road between St. Albans and Franklin were scattered groups of men, principally hurrying to the front, but some, even at that early stag,, turning their faces and steps homeward, and excusing their cowardice by tales of mismanagement and discontent. However, these dispirited ones grew fewer as we went on, the hurrying men seeming to lose their weariness as they neared the front. About ten o'clock we arrived in the village of Franklin, and found the solitary street filled with wagons and teams of every description, and a large crowd of men, composed principally of citizens, attracted by curiosity. For the first time, we saw the uniformed Fenians here in very considerable numbers. The uniform was a capital one for service, and, in mass, most attractive,—a green cavalry jacket, faced with yellow, army blue pantaloons, and a blue cap with green band.

General O'Neill commanded in person. He walked up and down the road conversing with his chief of staff. Gen. J. J. Donnelly, observing the occupation of the men, and now and then making some remark to aid a waverer in his choice of two rifles with perhaps equally bright barrels. Gen. O'Neill was dressed in a light gray suit, and wore a staff-sword and spurs. His horse, a small bay, stood by the roadside, held by a green-coated orderly. When informed of the arrival of the United States Marshal, he merely smiled and continued his walk. He said to your reporter that he meant to fight, and he would have a fight. Among the officers present was Major Daniel Murphy, of Bridgeport, Conn., in command of a very fine body of men. Major Murphy had his men formed up on the road, and minutely inspected them to see if every man's equipment was complete. He looked a fine, soldierly fellow, and throughout the whole day, and since then, no officer or man deserves higher notice than he for conspicuous bravery or clear-headed projects. Capt. Wm, Cronan, of