My captain seemed to be satisfied with their exploit and willing to allow the rest of Sherman's army to escape for that time, while I began to reflect that Thanksgiving Day, Nov, 24th 1864., had not brought me very much to be thankful for.
I passed over farther adventures until a few days later I reached Augusta, Ga., guard house where I found the four New York officiers [sic] who had escaped with me from Colombia, as well as several others from the same place; and a number of prisoners taken while foraging from Sherman's Army.
All had been stripped and robbed of everything of value, and were in doubt whether to be glad they were alive or not.
I was much interested in reading the daily papers. The Chronicle and the Constitutionalist one day came out with a column or two headed "Whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad." Asserting that Sherman's pet name of "Crazy Bill" was a bold statement of facts, easily proved by his ignorance of strategy and military tactics, and his foolhardy venturing with his army into the heart of an enemy's country without a base of supplies and no line of retreat.
Then followed a daily bulletin, to the effect that "Wheeler's Cavalry had administered another crushing defeat to the enemy's advance guard, and then had fallen back to another position with intent to lure the enemy, into a trap from which he could not possibly escape."
Another column would contain a frantic appeal to every man to turn out and repel the invaders of the sacred soil. Insisting that the foe must be turned back before he reached the coast and the protection of the navy. Otherwise the holy cause would be lost beyond redemption. Then would come an article congratulating everybody that the enemy was now right where they wanted him, and could neither advance or retreat. 'Demoralization and disintegration had set in.' All that was no necessary was for the planters to turn out with their dogs and guns to hunt out the fugitives out of the swamps.
I was particularly interested in an article headed 'Our faithful servants.' stating that near a certain place in Barmwell District an escaped Yankee prisoner had applied to Judge Somebody's body servant for aid, that the faithful slave had locked the man up in an out building and informed his master, who had immediately secured help and captured the Yankee, and turned him over to the Provost Marshal; adding all of our faithful servants would do the same thing.' This being contrary to my experience I discounted one-hundred per cent [sic]. Sherman continued to threaten Augusta until far past that point on his way to Savannah.
Then Hardees [sic] troupes were rushed around by way of Branchville, S.C. to reinforce Savannah. About Dec 1st, the accumulated prisoners at Augusta were loaded on stock cars to be sent to Colombia, S.C. As usual were deprived of rations for one day before the start to prevent overloading the worn out rolling stock and breaking down the trains, which ran about twelve miles an hour. I selected a place near one corner of the car for a private exit and commenced work on it before we had crossed the Savannah river. My former partners had no further desire to explore the enemys [sic] country in search of adventures and thought it best to sit down and be good. I had my door of hope open before dark. At the 96 mile turn out the train backed up on a siding to rest over night. The guards nailed up the side doors and built fires beside the track, two guards walked back and forth on each side of the cars all night. I was obliged to stay until morning. At daylight the whistle blew, the guards came aboard. I slipped out and the train slowly went off and left me, "monarch of all I surveyed" I did not stop to do much surveying but took to the woods, hoping that distance would lend enchantment to the view, which at that time was rather lonesome, and desolate. I soon struck a road running southeast and followed it all day and most of the next night. I met a black man about three o'clock next morning who said the road run down the "Saltketcher" river—Salky-hatchie I suppose, that he was twenty miles from home himself and knew nobody in that part of the country.
#1 photo of H. R. Hubbard (shown)