|The Escape of Captain Joe and Lieutenant Dock Daniel|
This fascinating article describing the Civil War exploits of Confederates Captain Joe and Lieutenant Dock Daniel was published in the Autumn, 1947 issue of The Arkansas Historical Quarterly. The Daniel brothers twice escaped from Union captivity and avoided prisoner of war camps after their units were forced to surrender. The second of these escapes occurred at the surrender of Port Hudson, where the brothers served in the 15th Arkansas Regiment. The narrative gives a good description of the situation inside the encircled garrison during the Union assaults and ensuing siege. Amazingly, just prior to the formal surrender, in spite of being seriously wounded, Captain Joe and his brother Dock and several others managed to work their way through the Union Army lines and return home to Arkansas.
The Escape of Captain Joe and Lieutenant Dock Daniel|
By Glenn G. Martel
The following narrative was written by one of the two Daniel brothers, Captain Joe (J. A.) or Lieutenant Dock (Z. L.) Daniel, or it may have been written by both. Mrs. Mary Butler, Magnolia, Arkansas, the daughter of Lieutenant Dock, gave the pencil-written manuscript to me when I learned of its existence and expressed a wish to prepare it for publication. She does not know which of the brothers actually wrote it, but she believes it is in her Uncle Joe's handwriting. It is not known either just when it was written, except that it was before the death of Captain Joe, and this must have been many years ago. I never knew Captain Joe Daniel, and Mrs. Butler could tell me but very little of him. But her father, Z. L. Daniel—Lieutenant Dock in the narrative—lived just outside the city of Magnolia, Columbia County, Arkansas, all of my life, up until his death in 1926. I knew him well. He was sheriff of this county from 1876 to 1882 and was at one time the warden of the Arkansas penitentiary. He was a quiet, even-tempered man, but absolutely fearless. No one who knew him could doubt for a minute that he would attempt the hazardous exploits described in this paper nor question his ability to come through them successfully. Uncle Dock, as he was known to those of my generation, deserves to be remembered in the history of his county and community as a good citizen, a faithful and efficient public servant, and a brave and loyal soldier of his native land.
I have kept as close to the exact wording and phasing of the original narrative as possible.
In July 1861, J. A. and Z. L. Daniel and seventeen others in Drew County, Arkansas, volunteered as private soldiers in the Confederate Army under the command of Dr. W. D. Reese as Captain and Jerome Rodgers as First Lieutenant. This little company, as yet unarmed, but with hearts moved by patriotism for their Southland, embarked upon a steamer at Grand Lake bound for Memphis, Tennessee. At this point they reported to Colonel March Walker, who was organizing a regiment called The Walker 40th Regiment of Confederate Infantry. This was a grouping of companies from different States and was, therefore, to be known only as Confederate troops. About the time that this little company under Captain Reese was sworn into the service, another company of thirty-four men, from Craighead County, Arkansas, was also received into the same regiment. It was under the command of Dr. J. W. Bush as Captain. A Mr. Lanston was First Lieutenant; a Mr. Anderson was Second Lieutenant; and a Mr. Edmondson was Third Lieutenant. Other companies were sworn into the service in rapid succession until eleven had been so received, when Colonel Walker resolved to consolidate the seventeen men under Captain Reese with the thirty-four commanded by Captain Bush, in order to comply with the army regulations limiting a regiment to ten companies. This was done despite the fact that both units had been accepted as such with the privilege of recruiting to full strength. The members of these two companies were ordered, then, to subscribe their names upon the muster roll as members of one company to be commanded by Dr. Bush as Captain, Dr. Reese as First Lieutenant, Jerome Rodgers as Second Lieutenant, and Anderson as third lieutenant. Mr. Lanston was ignored, and Lieutenant Edmonson was appointed Commissary (sic) for the regiment. J. A. Daniel, who had volunteered out of the Law School at Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee, knew the right of volunteers to elect their company officers, knew that the entire proceedings by Colonel Walker were illegal; and he, together with his brother, Z. L. Daniel, refused to sign as directed. Moreover, they with two others positively refused to permit their names to be placed upon the roll of the consolidated company, although they were told that they were violating the oath which they had taken and would be subject to disciplinary action. All of the original company from Drew County signed except these four, and they were handcuffed and told that they could expect further punishment. Seeing, however, that they appeared to know their rights and were determined to maintain them, the shackles were removed, and they were ordered to their quarters without further punishment, except that J. A. Daniel was reduced from the rank of sergeant to private.
The company remained as consolidated, but the Daniel brothers resolved to resist the usurpation of military authority and proceeded to memorialize General Leonidas Polk, Division Commander, for redress. In response to a memorial setting forth all the facts in the premises General Polk replied "That to grant the petition for redress would impair the efficiency of the 40th Regiment." This reply was read to the Regiment and interpreted by most of the members to mean that the efforts to secure the rights of their company as volunteers had failed.
The Daniel brothers, however, had not lost hope, and appealed the case to General Albert Sidney Johnston, a champion of individual rights. After a careful examination of the facts in the case, General Johnston did order that an election be held for the purpose of electing all of the officers of the company as asked for in the petition.
In the meantime, however, the 40th Regiment had been ordered to Fort Pillow, and by General Pope's command went to reinforce Island No. 10; and it was here that the election was held as ordered by General Johnston. Immediately after the election was ordered, Captain McLean was ordered to take charge of J. A. Daniel and see that he was not permitted to confer with members of the company prior to the election, was to be held at 2:00 P.M. that day. This order was promptly complied with, and the company was marched to Brigade Headquarters at the appointed hour, where the election was to be held.
At this place J. A. Daniel asked permission to address the company before the election, and his request was granted. Dr. Reese, his opponent and the favorite of Colonel Walker, preceded Daniel as a speaker. But the company was resentful of the actions of Colonel Walker in behalf of Dr. Reese and in opposing Daniel, and the election resulted in the almost unanimous election of J. A. Daniel as Captain. Jerome Rodgers was elected First Lieutenant; Z. L. Daniel, Second Lieutenant; and Anderson, Third Lieutenant.
Immediately after the election Colonel Walker delivered a sword to Captain Daniel with orders to take command of the five companies making up the right wing of the regiment and relieve within two hours the command supporting the artillery on the Island, the regiment being in camp on the Mainland in the bend. The Captain thought the Colonel's orders unprecedented and that it was probably for the purpose of basing charges of disobedience. He determined to obey. Finding the boats all unprepared to transport the command across to the Island, he demanded immediate action, had the stage planks taken in, and forced the officers of the boats to comply with his orders. In due time he landed upon the Island. Under the fire of artillery from the enemy gun-boats for three days and nights the Captain with the five companies supported the artillery. On the third day his command was relieved by the left wing of the 40th Regiment commanded by Major Minter of Alabama. It will be remembered that the 40th Regiment was composed of four companies from Arkansas, four from Alabama, one from Kentucky, and one from Florida.
Upon returning from the island, the five companies with the entire command moved several miles down the river into the bend, and Captain Daniel was ordered to take three companies with his own to the support of four howitzers which had been planted near the Watson residence a short distance above Tiptonville. While supporting these guns they were attacked by a land battery across the river under Pope's command and by two Federal gun-boats which had passed the Island the night after the right wing of the 40th Regiment had been relieved. Under this fire the four guns were dismounted after firing only four rounds; and one of the boats anchored below the three companies and another above, together with a land battery of more than 20 guns across the river, threw a shower of shells on the three companies which almost covered them, now crouching in rifle pits two feet deep and two and one-half feet wide. While under this fire an order was received by the Captain from Colonel E. W. Gantt, then in command, to retire with his men. Beginning on the left they did so in good order, and found upon arrival at the camp site that all the tents had been struck and that the command had gone toward Tiptonville. Following the trail the three companies marched through the woods and across the fields until they overtook the command at rest only a few miles from Tiptonville, where the entire army was halted and terms of surrender negotiated between the officers. The little Confederate Army was sacrificed in order to prevent the army under General Pope from reinforcing the army under Grant at Shiloh.
As prisoners of war the 40th Regiment was guarded in a hollow square by troops composed partly of the 22nd Illinois Regiment; and while it was raining during the night and the guards were under the cover of their oil cloths and rather sleepy and feeling certain no one would attempt an escape through their solid ranks, Captain Daniel and his brother, the Lieutenant, cautiously worked their way through the enemy ranks. After getting through the lines of the 22nd Illinois Regiment a council was held, and it was decided that they would conceal themselves upon one of the steamboats which were anchored in line at the landing. They crossed several before reaching the one they had selected, found easy access to it, concealed themselves under the boilers, and waited for daylight, hoping the boat they were on would be moved down the river. If so, they intended to steal ashore at some point near their home, find some friends, and make their way home. But all hope of accomplishing this vanished with the coming of morning, for the officers of the surrendered army were marched aboard that very vessel and carried up stream.
They remained concealed, however, until the boat landed at New Madrid, where they joined the other prisoners and were marched ashore and quartered in the same buildings the Confederates had formerly occupied as headquarters while the 40th Regiment was at Fort Bankhead just prior to their going to Island No. 10. Here they were kept for three days, during which time their only food was hard tack and raw meat. Then, they were ordered aboard a large steamer and started for a northern prison.
As the vessel neared Columbus the Captain and the Lieutenant conceived the idea of capturing the guards upon the ship and effecting their escape. They planned to burn the boat and take the guards with them as prisoners down the east side of Reelfoot Lake to Fort Pillow, which would protect them from the Federal Army. The plan was endorsed by all those consulted and details were arranged. Lieutenant Dock, as the younger Daniel brother will hereafter be called in this narrative, was to select a number of men, with them, to arrest the pilot. The men on the lower deck were to pair off casually, each pair near one of the guards as he stood near the edge of the vessel, near each of whom surplus guns were stacked while relief guards slept. Upon securing the pilot, a signal was to be given and each pair was to push the guard nearest them into the river and arm themselves with the guns stacked nearby, with which they would arrest the sleeping guards.
All to whom the plan was outlined approved it, and the last to be consulted was Major Minter. As Colonel Henderson and Captain Daniel-hereafter referred to as Captain Joe-were not good friends, the Captain intended to ignore Colonel Henderson. Major Minter, however, had more confidence in the Colonel, and contrary to the request of Captain Joe, revealed the movement to the Colonel. The latter immediately reported the plot to the Federal Colonel in command, and he called his men to arms before the strike was made. Then, in order to forestall another attempt, all prisoners were required to sign a pledge not to attempt to escape.
Captain Joe agreed to sign it provided all guards were removed from around the prisoners, but Lieutenant Dock refused to sign it under any circumstances. The vessel landed at Cairo, where the prisoners were to be transferred to the railroad for transportation to a northern prison. But before the transfer many prisoners were permitted to go ashore in order to exchange such money as they had for money that was more current in the north. For that purpose Captain Joe had started ashore when a guard stopped him. He appealed to the Federal Colonel, who sustained the action of the guard. Because of the conduct of the Federal Colonel, Captain Joe requested that his name be stricken from the pledge, stating that he would agree to he guarded by his honor or by a musket, but not by both. After some altercation his name was removed from the pledge. During all of this time Lieutenant Dock was concealed and out of evidence, as he intended to escape at the first opportunity. Being more prudent than his brother, the Captain, he was noted for his inconspicuousness.
The prisoners were afterwards transferred to the railroad, at which time they had to march across a part of the city. As they passed some freight cars, Captain Joe stepped behind a box car. The column marched on. But Lieutenant Dock failed to notice his movement and after waiting for some time for his brother to join him, he returned to the cars as a prisoner rather than leave his brother. Soon the train carrying the Confederates, about 150 in number, was moving northward. No guards were in evidence except for one at each end of every car. As some of the prisoners were afflicted with camp-sickness, some were permitted to step out upon the platform as the cars were running at a fast speed. It was dark, cloudy weather and heavy rains fell almost daily. After the train passed Matton, Illinois, Captain Joe and Lieutenant Dock laid their heads together and decided to leap from the cars as it ran. Accordingly they prepared for a leap. When it was about dusk and a heavy rain was falling, the train came to a small town called Oakville. Before it left the town both stepped out upon the platform, the Captain taking a stand on the lowest step, the Lieutenant upon the next. Selecting a spot where the mud appeared deep, Captain Joe made a leap and Lieutenant dock followed immediately, both rolling near the rail under the cars to prevent being shot in case they were seen by the guards.
The alarm was given promptly, but the train had gone quite a distance before it could be stopped. The two took refuge behind some cordwood until they reached some timber. This cover they took advantage of until the immediate danger of recapture had passed. The darkness of a rainy night was welcomed and greatly facilitated their escape. Both were weak from sickness and exposure, but determined never to enter a Northern prison. They traveled by day and never failed to secure good lodging until they reached Hutsonville on the Wabash River.
It was cloudy when they reached this town, they were unable to determine the direction of their travel, knew nothing of the town through which they had passed, and so decided to call at a hotel at this place to equip themselves with such geographic knowledge as would enable them to reach the Confederate lines at the nearest or most advantageous point. While examining a wall map at a hotel here in Hutsonville, Captain Daniel was interrogated by a Federal Lieutenant present with regard to his business, where he lived, and where he was going. The Captain made an impertinent reply, whereupon the Federal officer suggested that the Captain was a spy. Captain Daniel feigned great anger and indignation, and charged the Federal officer with lying and proceeded to remove his coat as though making preparation to engage in a fight. A good old Justice of the Peace, esquire Patri, interfered at this point, reproved the Lieutenant, and took charge of the two suspects himself. They were permitted to remain at the hotel guarded by two young men. One these was a son of the hotel proprietor, Mr. Beers. The other was a young man named Henry Stevens. These young men were unarmed, exercised no authority whatsoever, but merely looked after the prisoners , who were furnished meals at the table after all the others had eaten except for the so-called guards. While at the hotel a notice appeared in a newspaper that two prisoners had escaped from the cars. A description of them was given as well as instructions with reference to their apprehension. With the paper in his hand and his spectacles on, Esquire Patri caused the prisoners to be called before him for inspection. Captain Joe was just six feet tall, of dark complexion, and weighed about 165 pounds; Lieutenant Dock was about six feet and five inches tall, of light complexion, and weighed about 150 pounds. The descriptions given in the paper, however, were far from correct, as one was given as being about five feet and seven inches and of light complexion, while the other was given as being about six feet two inches and of a dark complexion. While they stood before the venerable official he read the descriptions aloud.
After the reading of the description of Lieutenant Dock, describing him as being only five feet and seven inches tall, Captain Joe remarked ironically that the squire certainly had his man. The impression made by this remark settled the question of identity and the prisoners were returned to their rooms. There they were confined for only two days, for the conduct and manners of the prisoners had so impressed public sentiment that upon the third day they were given the limits of the city with only one unarmed guard.
In the meantime, however, old man Beers had been dispatched to Palestine, the nearest telegraph station, in order to learn if statements made by the prisoners were true. They had denied being soldiers and claimed to be carpenters who had worked for certain parties in Cairo, Illinois, and in Dayton, Ohio. It was clear that the truth would soon be known, and so they resolved to make their escape.
Two young men had offered their assistance the first night after their arrest, but this was promptly declined at the time. Now, however, it was decided to accept their aid. True to them promise, when night had fallen and while the clouds poured out a torrent of rain and loud peals of thunder had driven others into the shelter of their homes, the young men leaned a long joist against the wall directly beneath the window on the third floor where the Arkansas boys were locked up at night. The pole failed to reach to the window, but a sheet and a counterpane tied together and fastened to the bed post permitted them to reach the pole and slide down it to the ground.
Again free and in the hands of trusted friends they were conducted to an old blacksmith shop. Here a small sack of provisions was given them and they were admonished not to show themselves on a public road within thirty miles of Hutsonville. The Confederate boys were told that their escape had first been suggested by a young lady, the daughter of Mr. Beers, and that it was she who had furnished the provisions they were to take with them. They were also told that they were known to be Confederates, as one of the young men had been with the command of General Price in Missouri, was familiar with the Confederate dress, and recognized their southern tongue. The two Confederates steadfastly maintained they were not. Their friends requested that in the event their escape was finally successful, they be notified and informed of the circumstances connected therewith. It was so promised; and after cordial hand shaking and whispered farewells, the journey began again.
Notwithstanding the continual rain and the almost impenetrable darkness, the liberated couple reached a distance of about nine miles toward Palestine before dawn. With the coming of day they concealed themselves about 150 yards from the public road in a briar patch which had grown up around an old dead hickory tree. This afforded no protection from the rain, however, which fell lightly but continuously throughout the day. About an hour after they had hidden themselves in the blackberry briars, they saw one Mr. Hudson and a companion pass going toward Palestine; and a few minutes later they recognized old man Beers returning from Palestine. Mr. Hudson was recognized because he rode a beautiful dapple cream-colored horse and was well known to them because he had been a very sympathetic friend during the days of their incarceration. It had been largely through his influence that they had been Successful in resisting an attempt by the civil authorities to confine them in the county jail. Although Mr. Hudson had befriended them, he assured them at the time that should they attempt to escape, he would be their worst enemy. He was now making that assurance good by his efforts to recapture them.
About sundown, however, Mr. Hudson and his companion were seen returning to Hutsonville. Then feeling more secure from the unsuccessful efforts to recapture them, the two brothers emerged from their hiding place at dark and continued their journey, chilled by the all day, cold April rain, but stimulated by the hope that they might yet see their dear old parents away down in Arkansas, instead of the inside of a Northern prison camp.
Going in the direction of Palestine they arrived in the town about 9 P.M. Here they discovered a light in an unoccupied storehouse and found a dance in progress there. Approaching the back door they stopped awhile to enjoy the scene before continuing on their way. Ignorant of the way they should go, they came to a creek which had overflowed its banks; and although already wet, they preferred not to swim it if it could be avoided. A drift of logs was found at a point where the channel was relatively narrow, and the Captain succeeded in crossing at this point; but Lieutenant Dock made a misstep, or a log turned with him, and he fell into the stream. He came out laughing, however, not much wetter than before, and they continued on their way. Because of the high waters and the absence of telegraph facilities they felt comparatively safe from arrest; and by avoiding towns as much as possible, they met with little trouble on the way.
Being the first Confederates to travel through this country they were not suspected, except by those familiar with the uniforms they wore. In explaining this their gifts of misrepresentation were considerably exercised; but when it is remembered that the Captain was just fresh from law school, it is easier to understand how they succeeded. Suffice it to say that they were fully and satisfactorily accounted for. It is useless to say that they passed as Union men. They disclaimed affiliation with the Federal Army. Without much trouble, having missed no meals, and having enjoyed good beds every night, they arrived at a point near Mt. Carmel, where they slept in a hay barn. It was Saturday night and they woke the next morning fresh for a Sabbath day journey. The Wabash River was very high, and Lieutenant Dock's feet were quite sore, and so it was decided that a boat ride down the Wabash out into the Ohio and down the Father of Waters to Gain's Landing, near where Arkansas City is now, would not only be easier on the feet, but a much faster way of traveling.
As they passed through the town of Mt. Carmel they observed a large number of people assembled at the river banks awaiting the arrival of a steamer, whose smoke was even then to be seen above the trees in the bend of the river below. A number of small boats, skiffs and dug-outs, were tied up along the river bank; and as the brothers approached, they pretended to be looking for something. Lieutenant Dock pointed to a beautiful skiff and exclaimed, "Here it is", as though they were looking for that particular boat. Soon they were seated in it, Lieutenant Dock managing the steering paddle in the rear of Captain Joe playing oarsman. They rowed at once to the middle of the stream in the presence of hundreds of people gathered along the river's bank.
Here they let the skiff drift down stream with current, dispensing with the use of the oars, and began to wash their faces and act as though no emergency faced them, although they had some fear that their uniforms here might give them away. Approaching the bend of the river, they again applied themselves to the oars and soon were beyond sight of the people on the shore. But by now they were nearing the steamboat, whose smoke they had seen in the town. It has been said that small boats should keep near the shore, and that in junction was now strictly observed. Yet they were within speaking distance of the military passengers who stood upon the steamer. In response to questions asked by those on the steamer, the fugitives waved their Confederate caps in the air over their heads and yelled back, "We are going to run the blockade". They had left Mt.Carmel about 9 o'clock (A. M.) and night found them at least seventy miles away from there, spending the night, with a family who lived in a small log house upon a high bluff near the west bank of the river.
Fearing to pass other steamers in their skiff, they exchanged it with the landlord for a dug-out, the difference in value constituting payment for lodging for the night and their meals. In this boat they could run into brush or shallow water and better keep out of sight when the occasion demanded.
The next day they met with no difficulty, and night found them about twelve miles from the Ohio River, where the overflow was deep and no land in sight. While they were considering what was best to do they saw what appeared to be a large lake, across which they heard the lowing of cattle and the squealing of pigs. The dug-out was directed toward this noise, through the woods and into the lake. But it was soon learned that the "lake" was an overflowed farm and that the cattle they heard were on a flat boat which was attached to a house. The hogs were occupying one end of the upper story of a log building; and two men, their wives, and a number of children were comfortably occupying two other rooms on the same floor with the hogs.
To the great astonishment of the occupants, the fugitives called at their door; and when the call was heard, no time was lost in welcoming the travelers in to share for the night such accommodations as the situation afforded. Although fatigued by the excessive labor of the day and the frequent disturbance caused by the splashing of water against the upper floor throughout the night the opportunity to rest and enjoy the breakfast next morning was highly appreciated by the fugitives.
Two nights were spent upon the banks of the Wabash with families surrounded by the overflow, and on the morning of the third day they entered the Ohio River. Here it soon became evident that the dug-out, under the management of unskillful craftsmen, had considerable difficulty in riding the waves that threatened 'to envelop it from time to time; and, as a result, it was determined to avoid the danger from the water, the possibility of arrest when passing the blockade at Shawneetown, and leave the dug-out at Ralleigh, Kentucky, and foot it across that state to the Confederate lines, then in Tennessee.
Being entirely without money, it was more difficult to travel, and it was decided to undertake a collection here in the Blue Grass State. Captain Joe was unanimously elected collector—voting for himself, of course. Entering Caseyville, Kentucky, on the Ohio, Lieutenant Dock was left in the suburbs of the town while Captain Joe entered the business part of town alone. He had heard of one Dr. Brown, a substantial Union man, and for him he inquired. Finding him in his drug store, Captain Joe approached him with a plausible story; and after making a plea for money, he proposed to pawn a nice gold watch, which he declared with tears in his eyes was a present from his father, leaving the impression that his father was dead. The doctor, moved by this plea, requested the Captain to remain at the store until he returned. In a few minutes he gave the Captain $26.00, telling him to keep his watch. In addition conveyance was furnished hay road wagon for quite a distance on the way the Captain was going. The wagoneer, however, failed to go out the same road upon which Lieutenant Dock had been left concealed, and it was with difficulty that Captain Joe succeeded in getting him to halt long enough to notify his brother of the situation and get him to the wagon. But he consented finally, and soon the two brothers were again on their way.
They went fourteen miles on the wagon, and at night, called on old Jack Crow, the first rebel to whom they made known the fact that they were Confederate soldiers. He cautioned them to avoid being seen with Southern sympathizers for fear of being arrested themselves and damaging their friends. Leaving Mr. Crow's the Confederates experienced little trouble except from high water. The bridges were all destroyed and the streams full. After crossing the Cumberland and the Tennessee Rivers they reached Calloway, Kentucky, where they boarded a hand car and rode to a river. Here the hand car was abandoned, for the bridge had been burned, they crossed the stream upon the tin which had covered the bridge, but which was still on the site. On the other side they soon came upon some men with another hand car. With them was a Mr. Oakley, who owned or operated a hotel at Humbolt, Tennessee. took the fugitives aboard his car, stimulated them frequent closes of rum the, obtaining of which had been the occasion for the hand car trip in the first place, and soon Mr. Oakley, his three employees, and the two Confederate brothers pulled into Humbolt, where the Confederate lines were established at that time.
They remained all night at Humbolt under the supervision of the conductor, and were ordered to report to the commander of the Post of Memphis. Here Captain Joe reported to Colonel or General Anderson, who ordered him to report to the commanding officer at Corinth, Mississippi. But finding General March Walker in the city, they obtained furloughs from him which gave them leave of absence until such time as an exchange of prisoners made the reorganization of their company and regiment possible.
The prisoners, both officers and privates, were not exchanged at Vicksburg, Mississippi, for about seven months; and until they were, the two Arkansas boys in possession of their extended furloughs had a first class good old time visiting the several Confederate armies.
Before Captain Joe had rejoined the regiment Colonel Henderson had reorganized the company formerly commanded by Captain Daniel by promoting Lieutenant Rodgers to the rank of captain and giving him command of the company on the grounds that Captain Daniel had not been exchanged. The old coolness between Captain Joe and Colonel Henderson was still very much in evidence. Upon his arrival, however, Captain Joe promptly demanded his former command of Company D in the Walker 40th Regiment and appealed to General Lloyd Tilgham. Both Captain Joe and Colonel Henderson were ordered to present their cases before the General for settlement. After all the pleas had been heard, the General ordered. that Captain Joe take the command of his former company and complimented him highly for having escaped and thereby saving the Confederates the cost of a captain in exchange.
After Captain Joe and Lieutenant Dock had been reassigned to Company D, the 40th Regiment was ordered to Clinton, Mississippi, where it remained for some time. It was here that Captain Joe resolved to effect the dis-organization of the Walker Regiment and free Company D from the authority of Colonel Henderson. Upon investigation he learned that the Walker Regiment appeared on the records in Richmond, Virginia, as the 40th Regiment of Tennessee Infantry, which deprived the respective States of the credit for their full quota of troops and gave Tennessee credit for one full regiment in which the State had furnished only the Colonel in the person of March Walker. The facts were as applicable to the other companies in the regiment as to Company D, since the regiment was composed of companies from Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky and Florida. Colonel Henderson had been directly responsible for the Florida company's connection with the regiment, and that company was not informed as to the movement on foot; but all the other companies were told that they would be included in the application for the disorganization if they so desired. The four Arkansas companies were the only ones that authorized Captain Joe to represent them; the other companies refused to act, as they feared to incur the displeasure of Colonel Henderson.
Again the case was brought before General Tilgham, and again the General found in favor of the cause championed by Captain Daniel; and the four Arkansas companies were transferred to the 15th Arkansas Regiment. This organization had been exchanged after a long imprisonment following the surrender of Fort Donaldson. It consisted of only six companies, but with the transfer of the four companies from the 40th Regiment, it now met the army regulations requiring that a regiment consist of ten companies. Also as a result of the transfer, the Company D of the Walker Regiment became the Company B of the 15th Arkansas.
The transfer was perfected at Jackson, Mississippi, which place the troops had been moved from Clinton, Mississippi; and now the 15th Arkansas was ordered to a bridge over the Hatchy River. Here the new regiment proceeded to elect its regimental officers. Before consolidation, it had been argued that the original 15th Regiment members would elect the Colonel and the Major and that the four companies from the Walker 40th Regiment would elect the Lieutenant Colonel. But a contention arose between Major Lee and Adjutant Ben Johnson of the 15th as to who should be the Colonel. The officers of the 15th decided in favor of Ben Johnson. This so angered Major Lee that he refused to accept the commission of Major as it was offered him and appealed to the officers of the six original companies for the commission of lieutenant colonel. These officers appealed to Captain Joe, the logical candidate for lieutenant colonel, and asked him to yield and accept the commission of major, thus making it possible for them to make Major Lee the Lieutenant Colonel. This Captain Joe refused to do, as it was in violation of the original agreement. Captain Stewart, the commanding officer of one of the other companies that had transferred from the Walker Regiment, did want the commission and was duly elected major.
Thus reorganized, the 15th Arkansas Regiment of Infantry was soon ordered to Cold Water, near Holly Springs, Mississippi; and after that it was sent to Port Hudson, Louisiana.
In the fall of 1863 the 15th Arkansas Infantry Regiment was ordered from Holly Springs, Mississippi, where it had been in camp but a short time after its reorganization, to Port Hudson, Louisiana. The command was transported by way of Jackson, Mississippi, on the New Orleans and Ohio Road, to Tangipahoa, Louisiana; and from thence a forced march on foot was ordered. This was the first marching that had been required of the soldiers. Leaving Tangipahoa in the morning this "web foot cavalry", as it was called, camped at Clinton, Louisiana, a distance about forty miles from Tangipahoa. Although there was a railroad from Clinton to Port Hudson, a distance of about forty miles, and although the feet of the soldiers were so sore from their long and unaccustomed marching of the previous day, to require a second day's march of them would be inhuman, an order was received from General Gardner at Port Hudson to lose no time, but to march at once.
The colonel in command of the regiment issued orders in agreement with the General’s command, but the company officers objected, had a conference, and decided that no emergency existed which would justify such an order at this time, and so informed the colonel, who reported to the general the condition that obtained with reference to the men’s feet and the ultimatum of the company officers. The general replied that while the action of the officers was a violation of military law, they would be excused and the march delayed on account of the condition of the men’s feet. After a day’s rest, and having bathed their feet and anointed them with tallow, the men of the regiment proceeded to Port Hudson. Here it was learned that the railroad was not equipped with cars sufficient to transport the two regiments with which the Fort was being reinforced. The 15th Arkansas Regiment established camp near the center of the Fort, where it remained until just before the investment of the fort by the enemy.
When the gun-boats came up the river from New Orleans, General Gardner had been called to Jackson, Mississippi to a military council, and General Beal was left in command of the forces in the fort. The day after this, General Beal ordered the 15th Regiment to Trees (?) landing, four miles below Port Hudson, where two masked batteries of two guns each were being planted in order to entertain the federal gun-boats aforesaid. Two twenty-pound Armstrong guns were planted some distance above the landing as a decoy battery, and two twenty-four pound Blakely guns were concealed come distance below for effective work. The upper battery was to reveal its location by opening fire upon the boats at long range and by this means draw the boats within range of the Blakely guns. The strategy worked like a charm, and the work of the Blakely guns was so effective that the boats soon retired beyond their range and began shelling the woods where the 15th Regiment was stationed near the river in a shallow ditch. From here the company was forced to retire to deep hollow two or three hundred yards from the landing.
When the fire from the boats ceased, the 15th had received a new supply of military experience, but was unharmed from the shells thrown at them by the gun-boats or from timber which fell all about them. All the while they had rested in the hollow, on either side of which heavy timber gave them both shade, concealment, and protection. They were ordered back to the fort after having been away two days. The two little batteries had discharged their duties faithfully, and they, too, were returned to the fort. The gunboats from this time on until surrender were active in the bombardment of the garrison.
After returning to the fort, the entire command, except for the artillery, experienced a monotonous camp life. Rations became shorter and shorter until the fort was surrendered. The beeves were poor and unfit for use; the hogs were dying of cholera; and the supply of molasses, though abundant, was sour and unwholesome. The inevitable result was much sickness.
Captain Joe was afflicted with dyspepsia and unfit for duty for weeks. Finally he was permitted to leave camp and go to Jackson, Louisiana, for treatment in the hospital. But there he was advised by the surgeon-in-charge, a personal friend, to secure board with some private family in the country where certain luxuries which his condition demanded were obtainable.
Lieutenant Rodgers, in the meantime, had resigned; and Lieutenant Dock had been promoted to his place. Now in the absence of the Captain, Lieutenant Dock took over the command of the company for several months. During this time the Captain was at the home of Dick Gordon near Jackson. The family consisted of Mr. Gordon, his wife, and one daughter, Miss Sallie.
During his stay here, his health was greatly improved; and fearing he might forfeit the honor of being a defender of the fort, he returned to his command before the Federal land forces besieged the fort. On the twenty-third of May he was ordered to take his company on picket duty about three miles from the fort on the road toward Plain Store in the direction of Baton Rouge. He located his company near the entrance of a long lane. On the twenty-sixth of May a cavalry force was seen by the pickets to enter the land from the south, and it was permitted to approach within good range before the pickets, reinforced by the Company, opened fire.
The enemy was forced to make a hasty retreat, and caused the company to be reinforced by the light artillery. Miles Legion, the 15th Infantry, and other regiments lined up along the north side of a large plantation while the artillery engaged the enemy from a skirt of bush, principally plum orchard, which grew along a small stream that crossed the plantation.
While the battle with the light artillery was being hotly contested, a strong column of Federal Infantry was seen upon some higher ground beyond a hollow in advance of the line of battle formed by the Confederates. They entered the plantation from the south. When they halted, after entering the plantation, the two armies were in plain sight of each other. The Federal flags were flying, their martial music echoed from the adjacent forest, and the rays of the evening sun were reflected from their brilliant arms, dazzling the 15th and other Confederates as they stood like statues along the opposite edge of the plantation. These Southern soldiers were determined to maintain their reputation for bravery and now to contribute another chapter in history, one which posterity might read with pride. As the sun lowered, the roar of the artillery gradually ceased, and the drums beat the slow time by which the steps of the respective armies were measured. Soon darkness fell and quiet reigned.
Upon returning to the fort the Captain was astonished to find that while he and his company were out upon duty, the hill upon which they had been assigned a position had been fortified and that all of the companies had been provided with good trenches for their protection except Company B. The Captain was ordered to have his company dig their own trenches, although a force of two hundred negroes had dug the ditches for all the other companies. The Captain complained of this, and the colonel explained that the negro detail had begun on the right wing of the regiment and worked until night, but failed to complete the trenches, leaving unfinished only that part to be occupied by Company B. The explanation, the Captain agreed, was very good, but not sufficient to induce him to have his company dig their own trenches after having been on outpost duty for three days. Besides it was a very hazardous task from the fact that throughout the night the sharpshooters of the enemy had established a line around the fort, and they were engaged by a similar line of Confederates. Also the artillery from without was occasionally throwing shells into the fort.
Finally a detail was made up from other companies, and they, with the assistance of Company B, dug the necessary trenches. Because the location of the ditch as proposed would have exposed Company B to a flanking fire from the enemy, and especially from a battery of artillery planted by the enemy a few hundred yards away, a different survey was made and a change made with respect to the location of the trenches.
During the night of the 25th the ditch was completed, and on the morning of the 26th Captain Joe was ordered to take his company to the relief of a line of sharpshooters on the side of the fort. Although subjected to the enemy sharpshooters' fire throughout the clay, there were no casualties. Company B was relieved at night and occupied its new quarters for the first time.
At a very early hour on the morning of the 27th—a long day to be remembered—the 15th Regiment with others was ordered to form a line on the outside of the fort and to hold a position about 400 yards from the fortification at all hazards. About daylight this order in part was obeyed. The line of skirmishers established by the 15th as directed was supported by Colonel Steedman's 10th Regiment, and on the line had been formed but a few minutes when commands were heard at a distance. Soon two solid ranks of infantry appeared in front of the line of skirmishers which had been ordered to hold its position at all costs. When the two ranks were not more than 75 yards from the skirmish line, a well directed fire from the confederates opened up, and soon the enemy had been repulsed from in front of the left wing of the Regiment—commanded by Captain Joe—but the right wing, which extended around the point of a hill, was forced back, after Major Lee, the commander of this right wing, had been taken from the field with a broken ankle. This retirement of the right wing brought the enemy in line with the left wing in such a manner that, after Captain Joe's attention had been called to it, he ordered the skirmishers to fall back to the reserve.
In the meantime, however, Captain Joe had received a wound by half of a minnie ball, which buried itself in his face under the left cheekbone; and upon turning to observe the enemy as it appeared on the right, another ball glanced his forehead, another struck the barrel of a gun he was using at the time, and yet another bullet struck the breech of the gun. This gun belonged to a 16 year old orphan boy, the Captain's pet, whom the latter was relieving at the time.
The order to fall back to the reserves was executed in good order, and no desperate resistance was offered; but the main column of the enemy came up at this point, and the small force of the engaging Confederates was forced to retreat across the fallen timbers into the fortification, followed closely by the superior forces of the enemy. A desperate assault was made upon the garrison. The Yankee huzzars mounted the parapets only to fall under a deadly fire from the guns in the hands of men who honestly thought that they were fighting in defense of their country, their property and their families.
In the beginning of the engagement the garrison brought to bear a few pieces of light artillery, all of which was dismounted, and many artillerymen fell in the engagement. The enemy was repulsed in this assault with very heavy losses, which has not been reported up to this date (?). The garrison then went to work strengthening the weaker points in the defenses, providing protection from the sharpshooters with whom the garrison was surrounded, and tunneling into the deep entrenchments in order to avoid the danger from falling shrapnel shell and timber felled by the heavy artillery. There was little complaint because of the lack of provisions, although the supply consisted of red cow peas, sour molasses, and mule or horse meat. The supply of medicines was soon exhausted and willow bark was substituted for quinine and other barks and herbs for astringents. The hospitals were filled.
The engine of a locomotive was rigged for power by which a pair of small mill stones were operated to grind peas for bread for the sick. This power plant worked well for a while, until the drive wheels, which had been raised above the rails for the purpose of acting as a band wheel, settled down unnoticed by the operator or miller, came in contact with the rails, and with throttle opened rushed with great speed in the direction of the enemy. A great cheer from the watching Confederates followed its progress as it made its rapid exit from the camp. Suffice it to say that from this time on the sick soldiers had to masticate their own cow peas.
Health conditions grew progressively worse, and the surgeons ordered the entire supply of molasses destroyed. After this only red cow peas and horse or mule meat was left. Before resorting to this restricted diet, General Gardner issued a circular submitting a question to the company officers, "Shall the garrison eat horse meat or surrender?". The unanimous reply was, "Eat horse meat".
On the 14th day of June the enemy again undertook to take the fort by attacking simultaneously all along the line; but again they were repulsed with tremendous slaughter—another fact that has never been given the notice it deserves. Effectiveness in repulsing this charge upon the 15th Infantry was considerably aided by a work performed by Lieutenant Dock. He supervised the digging of a tunnel at right angles from the pit in which his company was located. It led into a deep hollow behind a hill. In this hollow the Lieutenant dug a good pit behind solid earth from the artillery. From this point he and six good men with as many guns loaded with buck shot cartridges ( which the Colonel had forbidden them to use, by the way) flanked the assaulting force with such telling effect that the enemy ranks melted under their shower of lead. A Lieutenant and 19 men were shot on the breastworks of Company B of the 15th Arkansas Infantry in this engagement. They had been moved to the right as the enemy ranks were broken on the left by Lieutenant Dock's buck shot cartridges.
After the assault had been repulsed on June the 14th the enemy resorted to other means of warfare. Tunnels were dug toward the Confederate entrenchments for the purpose of planting torpedoes under their fortifications. It was their plan to effect breaches in their fortifications by the explosions of the torpedoes, through which their forces could enter the fort. But this strategy was anticipated and counter movements were made. The Confederates planted large torpedoes deep in the earth in line with the enemy's ditches and in front of them.
In the meantime the inactivity on the part of the enemy was clearly perceptible. Hearing of the surrender of Vicksburg they were awaiting reinforcements. In time the besieging army was reinforced by 13,000 men from the Vicksburg army. These new forces were assigned a position on the opposite side of the river from the fort. Its effect upon the garrison was negligible. It should be remembered that every piece of the Confederate artillery, except the heavy guns located near the river in the lower end of the fort, had been dismounted in the first days engagement, and that the enemy, on the other hand, had 200 pieces of artillery bearing upon the fort and shelling it day and night. Many mortars were included among these. Solid shot was thrown by the pieces used to demolish the Confederate breastworks and to cut timber down upon the garrison, as the men, especially those of the 15th Arkansas, were entrenched beneath a number of huge magnolia trees with many large branches.
Except for the purpose of defending the fort against the bombardment from the enemy gun-boats, the Confederate heavy artillery within the fort was of little benefit to them in the defense of the garrison, because the opposing armies were so close to one another. Especially was this true during an engagement when assistance was in the greatest demand. The effect upon the gallant defenders of Port Hudson of the news that Vicksburg had fallen was noticeable, but not decisive. Many who were well informed as to the true military situation and possessed a better knowledge of military movements knew the alternatives that had to be faced; but a number of company officers, encouraged by the excellent morale of the men, were not only willing, but enthusiastically in favor of taking advantage of the night and the unsuspecting enemy, to effect a hasty concentrated action, cut through the enemy lines at some supposedly weak point, and this accomplished, disperse with each company on its own.
While that plan was being discussed earnestly a truce was announced. Captain Joe was in command of the regiment at the time, for the colonel had been called to a council of war; Colonel Lee was in the hospital; and Major Stewart had been detailed to supervise the cooking department. This left Captain Joe the senior officer of the regiment, and he was notified of the fact that surrender of the fort was imminent.
The captain then announced the news to the men of the regiment through the non-commissioned officers and advised every man to take care of himself. At the same time he and his brother, Lieutenant Dock, began making plans to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy.
Leaving the men of the regiment in their trenches, Captain Joe and Lieutenant Dock started for the narrow neck connecting a large lake with the Mississippi River, across which they proposed to swim, avoiding in this way, they hoped, the enemies' picket lines, which they supposed extended from the upper end of the lake around the fort. They had gone but a short distance, however, when Charlie Graham—whose wife was the nearest neighbor to the parents of the Daniel brothers—overtook them and begged to be permitted to go with them, as he knew they would escape imprisonment at all cost. It was known that Graham could not swim, and he was informed that they intended to swim the lake. He insisted that he would try even if he drowned in the attempt.
Before reaching the lake they were recognized by Colonel Johnson, who was on horse back. He galloped to where they were and inquired as to their intentions. They told the colonel what they intended to do. He assured them escape was impossible, defining the enemies' lines as given him in the council of war, and advised that they return to their regiment, maintain its organization, and await parole as provided for in the terms of surrender. His advice was not taken.
The three Arkansas boys continued on to the lake; and since Graham was determined to follow, Captain Joe, who was a good swimmer, took off his shoes and gave them to Graham to carry, instructing him to hang the shoes across his arm and take hold of the Captain's shoulder. It was thought that in this way Graham might be taken across the lake. Accordingly they started across. All went well until they were about fifty yards from the shore, when Graham let the Captain's shoes fall from his arm; and when attempting to recover them, lost his hold upon the Captain's shoulder. Although apparently but little excited, he sank to the bottom of the lake, which was beyond his depth, and with an effort sprang forward from the bottom and came to the surface. Getting a good breath, he sank again for a similar spring forward. This was repeated until he reached the shore in safety.
The lake, however, was overflowed from the water from the river and from Thompson's Creek, which passed through it during stages of high water. It was quite a distance yet from dry land even after the lake proper had been crossed. And as the three were making their way through the willows which stood thick in the overflowed borders of the lake, they heard the voice of a sentinel in front of them. This called for a pause and a discussion as to how best to continue.
Captain Joe and Lieutenant Dock decided to follow the borders of the open lake as close as they could until a place was discovered where it was possible to conceal themselves in deeper water until the pickets were called in. A large ash log was found which had drifted in among the willows. Swimming to it with Graham on the Captain's back, they found a place of safety. Here they were surrounded by a dense growth of willows, and by taking a position on the log and remaining quiet they were not observed by the sentinels, who were stationed along the edge of the water between the lake and the river. From time to time, they heard the reliefs come and go from the picket line, and they listened anxiously for the line to be removed; but this hope was soon lost, as they heard many other Confederate soldiers attempting to escape in the same way as they. On the second day as they were quietly sitting on the below the log, which was about a foot below the surface of the water, Lieutenant Webb and Sergeant Bray of Des Arc, Arkansas, were seen wading in the lake near their log. To prevent their discovery they were invited to take a place on the log. This they were glad to accept. Soon after this Lieutenant Bill O'Farrington and Captain James Franklin of Columbia County, Arkansas, came across the lake in a dug-out; and being intercepted by the occupants of the log, they too were glad to join the group on the submerged log for the time. But after canvassing the situation carefully, Lieutenant O'Farrington and Captain Franklin decided to return to their regiment. They left their canoe, however, with the others who decided to stay. In the afternoon on the second day, voices of the enemy were heard. This proved to be a line of enemy soldiers marching in the water toward the log on which the Confederate boys were perched. To escape being seen by these searchers the log was abandoned for a time; and holding to willows and other objects they sank into the water until only their faces were exposed. The water, too deep to wade, extended forty or fifty yards from where the five were concealed. Soon the search for stragglers was abandoned by the enemy and the line of searchers ordered to return from the edge of the deep water. Then the five Confederates resumed their position on the log.
In the meantime, the water in the lake began to rise considerably, and Captain Joe and Sergeant Bray made a tour up the lake for the purpose of finding a better location for the contemplated stay on the lake. They returned with a favorable report. And with Graham and the surplus clothing belonging to the others, in the canoe, the party moved cautiously up the lake to a large log which had fallen into the water, but which still rested upon its stump several feet above the surface of the water. Several feet of the log was, therefore, above the surface. And after a very large alligator had been driven away, a long two by six scantling was found in a nearby drift and placed upon the log in such a manner that one end rested in the fork of a willow and formed an admirable seat for the entire group. At this place the third night was passed in the lake surrounded by the enemy. On the fourth night, although the situation remained unchanged, the starving condition of the fugitives made it imperative that something be done. The only practical exit from the lake was to return to the other side above the fort, as the picket line was supposed to extend from the lake along Thompson's Creek to the mouth of Sandy Creek and thence along Sandy Creek to the enemies east lines. Preparing the canoe as before the squad proceeded around the deep lake, prepared to attempt to cross the picket line along Sandy Creek. The trip across and around the lake was successful. The clothing in the canoe was properly distributed, and all started cautiously toward the creek. It was very dark when the creek was reached, and the back water itself was deep. Captain Joe took Graham on his back as before, except for the shoes, and then they all entered the water together.
When they were about half way across the creek the pickets on the opposite shore opened fire; but as no damage was done, the group continued its course until the bank was reached. Here Captain Joe, Major Wedge, and Sergeant Bray were captured by the 44th New York Negro Regiment; but Lieutenant Dock and Graham ran through the picket line unobserved because of the darkness of the night under the heavy foliage of the dense growth of timber which shut out even the light of the stars. Captain Joe had, besides a jersey jacket or fatigue coat, a certain calico coat padded with cotton and with both inside and outside pockets. These held so much water that the Captain couldn't travel after getting out of the creek until these pockets were emptied. This accounted for his inability to get away with his brother and Graham.
A company was sent from a regiment camped nearby to conduct the recaptured prisoners back into the fort. And as they were going up the creek along the edge of the water with Captain Joe in front, followed by Major Wedge and he by Sergeant Bray, with a guard upon either side of the Captain, each carrying a Belgian musket at shoulder arms, the entire company followed in column of twos. Captain Joe noticed a deep ravine which opened into the creek, and darting behind the guard he plunged into this ravine as they passed by. He immediately fell behind a sand bar which had been thrown into the entrance of the ravine by the waters of the creek, and on account of this the guards shot over him. Making another jump or two and falling flat into the bottom of the ravine each time, but with the entire company shooting at him all the while, he was lucky that only two shots hit him. One entered each thigh and ranged into his body, one lodging near the neck of the bladder and the other in his left hip. Both bullets he carries with him yet. But having no bones broken, the Captain was not disabled from traveling, and this he did now with all speed, making his way up the ravine until he came to a sudden bend in its course. After this he took more time, cautiously selecting his way, for he expected to come in contact with the enemy again now at any time.
When he came to the borders of a large farm, he prepared to give a signal, which had been agreed upon in case they were separated as they were making their way through sentinel line. To hide himself for this purpose, he stepped hastily into what he thought was a yonkepin (Wankapin) slough, but which proved to be a gully at least 15 feet deep, filled with small brush or cotton stalks, and over which vines had grown, forming a coat over the top of the stalks or brush much resembling yonkepins in the dark. The stalks filling the guilty were brittle, and the captain went to the bottom of it with a crash. And although it was the night of the 14th of July the captain never thought once of the danger from snakes.
After waiting for some time he made his way out by feeling for banks he would climb. Finally he emerged from the trap into which he had fallen, and hearing no noise he hooted once or twice like an owl. But receiving no reply from this signal to his friends, he continued on in the direction of the farm. Viewing the situation from the military standpoint, however, he thought it likely that the enemies' picket lines might well extend from the lower end of a little lake on the east to Thompson's Creek along the farm which he was about to enter; and hesitating over the situation, a sentinel, not more than ten paces from him, fired a shot. The Captain ran into the brush; and as he entered, the leaves were cut in his face by another shot. Falling upon his hands he made his way fifty yards into a witch hazel thicket, where he remained for some time. When all was quiet, he made his way to the edge of a slough that ran from the little lake along the edge of the farm to the gulley into which he had fallen. He went along the edge of the slough cautiously concealing himself by the shadow of the dense foliage from any pickets which might be stationed along its edges.
Without shoes, the sweet gum balls pierced his stockinged feet at every step. But he continued on cautiously until stopped by hearing a low voice quite near him. Thinking it might be Lieutenant Dock or Graham, he advanced silently to a large tree behind which the voice seemed to come. With one hand on the tree, he looked around it and saw a negro soldier trying to wake another from sleep. His bayonet, which reflected the light of the stars, was not two feet from the Captains head. So near was danger. Whereupon, he stepped back lightly and was unnoticed by the negro soldiers; and going parallel with the slough until about half way to where he supposed another picket should be, he threw a stick at an opening in that direction. The stick came near striking the negro sentinel, for a voice cried out, "Who dat? Who dat, I say! 'Clare fore God somebody g,wine to git hurt this very night!"
With the sentinels located. Captain Joe waited quietly for a while, until the rising moon reminded him that darkness was the best friend at his command. And so he proceeded to the edge of the slough and crossed it at his best speed, landing on the opposite side in a horizontal position for fear of being shot at again. But no shot was fired. To his surprise, he found that the slough was only a tributary and that the lake had yet to be crossed. reaching the banks of the lake and going down them looking for a narrow place where he might better effect a crossing, he resolved to cross the lake at all costs. A long cottonwood log extended into the lake, and from it the rays of the rising moon were seen. He decided to go out upon the log as far as he could and thus shorten the distance he would have to swim, for he was now quite weary from hunger and the loss of blood. But when about half way the length of the log—in his stocking feet, of course—he stepped upon on a snake, which wrapped itself around his ankle. The chances were, of course, that it was a poisonous moccasin, and it so frightened him that he jumped as far as he could out into the lake and swam across it without any further difficulty, leaving his cap behind for the enemy to find later.
Realizing his good fortune so far, he made his way around the farm in which the enemy was camped, crossed a hedge, concealed himself, and enjoyed a good sound nap.
He awoke the next morning about nine o'clock, stiff and sore from his wounds (and bloody, of course) and set out to go around the farm and the enemies' camp. A lone stalk of corn was seen upon which one ear of squirrel-eaten corn remained. This food was appropriated, but the rain had soured what few kernels the squirrel had left on the cob, and it was only chewed up and spit out. This corn and a few green muscadines was all the food the Captain had eaten in about four days. From this point he traveled east bearing north toward Thompson's Creek until he came to the public road leading from Port Hudson to Bayou Sarah, along which soldiers were stationed about four hundred yards apart as a substitute for a telegraph wire. This line had to be passed, and it was about noon and the woods comparatively open, except on the opposite side of the road where there was a thicket of young pines. The Captain moved slowly and carefully until he got near the road about half way between the picket stations. Here he hastily crossed the road and went into the pine thicket, as he believed, without being seen. From thence lie directed his course toward the creek, as he was suffering from the want of water to quench his thirst and to bathe his wounds.
He came soon to the creek where he bathed well. After this he traveled up the creek until he came to a bend in the stream with a farm in the area. saw that by crossing the farm he would shorten the distance and strike the creek above the farm again. He had gone only about half way across the farm when he noticed some cavalry on a public road that ran by the farm along the foot of the hills. He quickened his pace, but saw that he had been discovered, for the troops entered by a gate and a horseman galloped toward him as he ran for dear life. He reached the fence when the horseman was not more than one hundred yards from him and calling on him to halt. He hastened over the fence and jumped from a high bank into the creek, which was but a few steps from the fence. The horseman had to stop at the fence and did not follow further.
After swimming the creek, which was about half bank full, the Captain continued on his way up the creek; but soon he realized that he was getting very weak and nervous and must soon have food, although hunger had not bothered him as much as thirst after the first two days of his enforced fast. He left the creek again soon and approached a large brick house—the property of Jo Davis, a brother of President Jefferson Davis and a second cousin to the mother of the two Daniel brothers. This relationship was not known at this time, however. When the captain drew near the house he came upon a negro standing upon the dam of a large tank playing a fiddle. He asked the negro to bring him something to eat from the house. The negro suggested that they avoid a certain house which stood an equal distance from the tank as did the brick house, where the Captain was advised he would be well supplied with everything they had. He and the negro started for the brick house; but after going a short distance the Captain sat down upon a small log and requested that the negro bring him some provisions. The negro insisted upon the Captain going to the house, but he remained firm in his refusal to go. The negro went alone to the house and returned in a few minutes with a piece of cold egg bread made of corn meal upon which lay a thick piece of cold pickled pork. The Captain received this and began eating, but looking in the direction of the house about one hundred and fifty yards away he saw an old mulatto man coming toward then. The Captain asked the negro who had given him the bread who the old man was who was approaching. He replied that he was a good old man who was "all right". The Captain continued eating until the old man came near.
Inspecting the Confederate curiously the old man said: "Poor man, you fighting against us and the Federals are fighting for us, but I advise that you get away from this place." The marks of sympathy on the old man's face will ever be remembered by the Captain as characteristic of the race to which the old man belonged. The Captain replied, "Uncle, I shall take your advice." And walking away slowly, he heard a voice from the house which cried, "Catch him!" The negro who had brought the food remarked, "They say catch you." Whereupon, the Captain started to run for safety with the best speed he could get with his feet wrapped in pieces of clothing; for walking for so long and so far upon sweet gum halls, which almost covered the ground over much of the way he had traveled, had made his feet very sore indeed. The crop had been removed from the field to feed the enemy cavalry and it was down grade for the Captain for several hundred yards to a small stream which ran through the farm. The negro was in pursuit, but upon reaching the stream, the Captain paused to rest and to clear his throat and windpipe of the bread crumbs which were causing him some trouble. By now, several other negroes had joined the chase and were getting near to the fugitive; and so, putting his hand on his hip pocket, the Captain told the negro nearest him to come on and he would fix him. Whereupon, the negro who had brought the food cried, "He's got a pistol!" He stopped then until the other negroes behind him had come up.
The Captain held them at bay until another negro was seen coming from the house with a gun; and when he had come almost within gun shot range, the Captain resumed his flight up a long ascent to the nearest point where a hedge of rose briars enclosed the farm. The negro friend, who had fed him, directed the Captain to go down the branch, telling him that he could not get through the hedge. But the Captain was not wanting advice just then, and continued his course. He noticed a fence near the hedge and thought he might lean a rail upon the hedge and by that means get over it; but when he got nearer, he found that it was a very old hedge, twelve or fifteen feet high, and impossible for him to carry out such a plan. Being hard pressed by the negro with the gun, he determined to escape from the field, and so got down on his hands and knees and forced his way through the hedge at the sacrifice of the calico coat and much skin from his face. His nose, a very prominent feature of his physiognomy, suffered especially.
Having successfully gained the opposite sale of the hedge, with strength exhausted, he remained prostrated for a while at the place of his exit. He could hear the negroes on the other side of the hedge; and when they came to the place where the captain had crawled through, one of them exclaimed after a long groan, "You jes as well try to ketch a cotton tail rabbit as one of them rebels." Slowly rising to his feet and looking through the top of the hedge where the briars were not so dense, the Captain counted seven heads of negroes as they moved along the little trail by the side of the hedge. But fearing the negroes might know of a gate or some place near where they could cross the hedge, he resolved to lose no more time in making good his escape.
Divested of the remnants of the calico coat, he went a short distance and found where a large hickory log from a deadened tree had fallen and was resting on its stump. This had been well covered with brush and vines, so that the space under the log offered an excellent place for concealment. The Captain crawled into this place as far as he could, and here he remained from about three o'clock in the afternoon until daybreak the following morning. He awoke stiff and sore with another supply of fresh blood in evidence. It was then and there that he discussed with himself whether or not he was not paying too much for the whistle. But deciding in favor of the negative, he looked at his surroundings and found that he was on a piece of ground also enclosed by a hedge with the view of being added to the farm from which he had been chased by the negroes the day before. The timber had been deadened and the undergrowth removed, but another crop of the latter had come up. Through this growth the Captain wended his way until he came to the hew hedge enclosing the area. Across it a tree had fallen at one place and briars had grown over it; but here the hedge offered less resistance than elsewhere. Some considerable thought was indulged in before he could persuade himself to go through another hedge, but the determination never to see the inside of a Northern prison won out in the end, and so he deliberately mounted the log and, as before, forced his way through the thorny hedge, and emerged into the comparatively open wood on the other side.
He was now scarcely able to walk, but somehow he believed that the last gauntlet had been run and that freedom and safety were in sight. And so again returning to the creek, he bathed his painful wounds, but had to forego washing his face because it was so full of thorns from the hedge. He continued up the creek, stopping to bathe as the condition of his wounds made necessary, until late in the afternoon, when he heard a man not far off calling hogs.
Believing he had now passed all Federal lines, he resolved to risk the result of making his way into the presence of this man, whoever he might be. The man whom he came upon proved to be the father-in-law of Lieutenant Bellow, who was at home with a company of home guards then, for the purpose of protecting his father-in-law's property and the community against stragglers and scouting Federals. When the old gentleman saw the Captain approaching him, he called upon him to halt and asked him who he was. In a very few words the young Captain made himself known, and his host asked him to remain where he was for a few minutes. Going into the house the old man returned with the young Lieutenant, who invited the Captain to the house. Here he was questioned more at length, with reference to his adventures. The Captain answered truthfully, and the old lady of the house was so deeply moved by sympathy for the specimen of suffering humanity before her that she burst into tears and offered to do all she could to alleviate his miserable condition. She did not know at this time that he had received two rather serious wounds from which he was, even then, suffering intensely.
Some refreshments were provided, and the Lieutenant looked after the Captain's request for a vessel of warm water, and it was not long then until a perceptible improvement was manifested by these ministrations, both to the Captain's relief and their evident joy. That he might be more secure from the enemy should the household experience a more or less expected raid from the enemy that night, a good bed was prepared for their wounded guest in a small log hut in the yard back of the house. Here he would be notified if necessary and his recapture the better prevented. That night, the Captain communed with his God and did considerable speculation with reference to the possibility of there being a special Providence Working in his behalf during the past few days. He came to the conclusion that if there were, such a Providence had had considerable personal assistance on his part in effecting his escape. A former experience of a like nature with Lieutenant Dock in Illinois confirmed him in this conclusion.
Morning came after a night of good rest; but when he undertook to stand upon his feet, they refused to bear his weight. Lieutenant Bellow, who owned a number of negroes, furnished him with a pair of red russet shoes, as the negroes called them; but although they were number twelve’s, the Captain's number seven feet would not go into them. The Lieutenant oiled them and pressed the vamps. But still the Captain could not bear his weight upon his feet. Finally the strong quarters of the shoes were pressed down and the vamps were split. Then he could stand upon the elastic quarters. He was helped into a cart, to which a fine mule was hitched, and conveyed to the premises of an old friend of Lieutenant Bellow, who in turn sent him to the camp of General Logan, whose brigade was operating in the rear of the enemy that had invested Port Hudson.
General Logan had no place for officers in the Captain's condition and advised him to go to the home of Mr. Confer, who resided a few miles away. This the Captain did, arriving there about 3 :00 P.M. Here he found a family consisting of Mr. Confer, his wife, and a beautiful and intelligent daughter of sweet sixteen or thereabout, Miss Amanda, who devoted especial attention to the Captain. She politely tendered her services in removing thorns from his face, hands, and legs and in combing the burs from his long, curly hair, as well as removing briar thorns from his head--all of which was no small task. From time to time as the task grew monotonous, Miss Amanda would suggest refreshments of cake and blackberry cordial. Of the latter five gallons of the very finest. After then, frequently a game of euchre, at which they were both expert, would help pass the time.
The second day after the Captain's arrival and before his appearance was much improved, one Captain Scott, an acquaintance of Mr. Confer, called for dinner. He saw the wounded Captain, manifested great interest in his condition, and so expressed himself upon his departure. The next day Captain Scott had dinner with a lady who resided between Confer's home and Port Hudson; and during dinner, he mentioned the fact that he had seen a Confederate Captain the day before at the Confers' house, who had escaped from Port Hudson, and told something of his miserable physical condition. To all of Captain Scott's words the good old lady listened most attentively and with a marked interest; and after her guest had departed she hastened to the garden. Going to the back side near a cluster of vines, she informed Lieutenant Dock and Charlie Graham that Captain Joe Daniel was still alive and beyond all danger from the enemy, but that he was in a rather serious condition, according to the report she had just received from Captain Scott.
Lieutenant Dock had feared that his brother, the Captain, had been killed by the volley of shots he had heard at the time they ran through the enemy lines; and this information was good news indeed. Thanking the lady for having concealed them and kept them so faith fully, they bid her adieu and left at once to go to the wounded Captain. Captain Scott did not know the wounded Captain's name, but Lieutenant Dock was satisfied he was his brother.
Actually Captain Joe, in spite of his wounds, had passed through the enemy's lines in a shorter period of time than had Lieutenant Dock and Charlie Graham. As they ran through the picket line at Sandy Creek, where Captain Joe ran off from the negroes and was wounded, they heard the gun fire and feared that Captain Joe had been killed. Since they could do nothing else they proceeded to take care of themselves. They were in the plantation referred to by the Captain when he told of the enemies' tents being pitched there which he avoided by going around the farm. Lieutenant Dock and Graham lay down between the ridges in the field, when they got to the plantation, to prevent being seen by the enemy, as the latter was seen coming into the farm. They expected the Federals to pass on, but to their great surprise and consternation, the regiment halted and pitched their tents but a few hundred yards from the very place the Confederates had concealed themselves so inadequately. Police guards were stationed around the camp, but fortunately did not extend far enough to include Lieutenant Dock and Graham in their lines. They had only to wait patiently for darkness to cover their retreat and continue their flight. They had not traveled far the night before, after crossing Sandy Creek and going through the enemies' lines, as they hoped to see these lines shortly withdrawn to their advantage. This expectation was not realized, however.
Their policy was to travel as cautiously as possible, and they used the cover of night only when and where they considered it absolutely necessary. At any rate, Lieutenant Dock and Graham's strategy enabled them to come through the enemy lines in much better condition than the Captain. On the fifth day after crossing Sandy Creek they heard of the whereabouts of Captain Joe, and the three met at Mr. Confer's home on the sixth day thereafter. Here they were all the recipients of Mr. Confer's and his family's kindness and hospitality, and after resting there for four days, Lieutenant Dock and Charlie Graham started for home afoot, planning to cross the Mississippi River at Fort Adams. Before reaching this point, Lieutenant Dock fell the victim of a frightful attack of bilious colic. This affliction successfully overcome, they crossed the river and stopped for the night about four miles above the crossing. Captain Joe overtook them here.
He had remained several days longer at Mr. Confer's home. But while he was at Mr. Gordon's place near Jackson, Louisiana, recruiting his health, prior to the investment of Port Hudson, he had gained the esteem of that family; and when they heard that he was here at Mr. Confer's home, wounded, they sent him Miss Sally Gordon's favorite saddle pony. Mr. Confer equipped him with a splendid bridle and saddle, and Mrs. Confer presented him with a new citizen's suit of linen clothing. He was then well equipped for the trip.
Leaving Mr. Confer and his family with their blessings, he started upon the road already traveled by Lieutenant Dock and Graham; and although his wounds were highly, inflamed and he was forced to lie across the broad pommel of the saddle much of the time, he withstood the torture until the second night, when he crossed the river and arrived at the residence where Lieutenant Dock and Graham had stopped for the night. A few minutes after his arrival, Captain Rolf of Hamburg, Arkansas, with a number of others, stopped at the same place. A general council was held here and it was agreed that Captain Joe must not attempt to ride further on horseback and that he must be provided with conveyance.
The morning following, a wagon and a good team with driver was employed and with Graham riding the Captain's pony, they all took the road up the river toward home. The negroes had just heard of their actual freedom, secured, as they were informed, by the fall of Port Hudson; and there was confusion at every quarter at which they called for provisions. The only chance was to ask such accommodations of the negroes, for it was always to the negroes that the overseers referred them. The newly freed citizens took pride in granting all requests, and all their charges for services and supplies were very reasonable.
Thus the little company of Confederates had no trouble securing accommodations as far as Girard, Louisiana, at which place Colonel Tappan's Regiment was camped; and Lieutenant Colonel H. W. McMillan, a former teacher of both Captain Joe and Lieutenant Dock before the war, was pleased to furnish them with transportation to Bastrop, Louisiana.
Captain Joe had read law here under Judge Bussey and had served as Deputy District Clerk at Bastrop in 1860. The Judge supplied them with good saddle mules, which they rode to their homes at Lacey, Arkansas, a distance of sixty miles.
Once more at home, surrounded by the members of their families, they were the recipients of every kindness in the power of parents and devoted sisters and younger brothers to bestow. Soon they had all recovered from the effects of their long and dangerous journey, except for the Captain, who never received any medical attention whatever. The bullets in his body were never removed.
The surrendered garrison, except for the officers, was paroled for exchange and returned to their homes; but the officers were held as hostages in case the threats against General Butler were carried out by the Confederate government. In a few weeks, the troops which had surrendered both at Vicksburg and Port Hudson were exchanged and ordered into camp at Washington, Arkansas, where they were re-organized for active service. The heavy loss of men sustained by the 19th Arkansas Regiment which was surrendered at Vicksburg and the 15th Arkansas Regiment which was surrendered at Port Hudson made it necessary to consolidate these two regiments. But because of the enviable records both had made, each was permitted to retain its number; and the new regiment was known as the Consolidated 15th and 19th Arkansas Regiment. All of the regimental officers of the 15th Regiment being held prisoners, Captain Joe, as senior captain, took command of the 15th Regiment, and Colonel Williams of the 19th was placed in command of the Consolidated Regiment. Captain Joe was second in command because of his seniority and the fact that the others were in prison. Colonel T. P. Dockery of the 19th Regiment was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General and placed in command of all the troops from Vicksburg and Port Hudson. A portion of the brigade was mounted, and General Dockery took command of this part; and Colonel Williams commanded the infantry portion of the brigade. This left the infantry portion of the 15th and 19th under the command of Captain Joe until the 23rd of May, 1864, when he resigned upon a surgeon's certificate, because of wounds received at Port Hudson. This left Lieutenant Dock in command of company B in the Consolidated Regiment. This Consolidated Regiment was in the Battle of Poison Springs and Jenkins' Ferry, after which it was ordered into Texas, where it remained until the surrender.
Captain Joe, before his resignation, was ordered by General Dockery to take Lieutenant Bell and twenty men and occupy the territory of Drew and adjoining counties for the purpose of suppressing the cotton traffic which was being conducted with the enemy on the Mississippi River. This he did; but while in this territory, it was abandoned by the Confederate army temporarily, and General Joe Shelby's men were authorized by their colonels to enter the territory for the purpose of getting horses for service. To this Captain Joe objected; and having arrested two of Shelby's men, he sent them to General Dockery, who was then moving through Hamburg, Arkansas, en route to Grand Lake for some arms. He told the Captain to exercise his own judgment in these matters, but that should he arrest others, he should send them to General Fagan, who had just moved his command to Monticello, Arkansas. At the same time, he sent Captain Boon with an additional twenty men to reinforce Captain Joe's little command; and within a few days sixty-five other men of General Shelby's command were sent to General Fagan, who promptly receipted Captain Joe for them and ordered the men to rejoin their command. Captain Joe has always attributed his election to the House of Representatives in 1864, following his resignation from the army in May, to this protection given the Drew County territory, and to the personal popularity of his father, W. B. Daniel of Lacey, Arkansas.
When the war was over, Captain Joe and his wife, the only daughter of Robert Jameson of Lamartine, Arkansas, and their baby boy moved to Texas, where they now reside. He practiced law for a number of years, but when his voice failed, he took up the practice of medicine. Lieutenant Dock went to Columbia County, Arkansas, following the war, where he married Mrs. Nannie Dickson, the daughter of Mr. Devaughn, a good citizen of that county, and the widow of Dr. Washington Dickson, who fell at the battle of Jenkin's Ferry. Both Captain Joe and Lieutenant Dock reared families. Captain Joe is the father of five living children, two boys and three girls; Robert O. Daniel of Nixon, Texas; W. O. Daniel of Fort Worth, Texas; Mrs. Elene Smith, wife of the Reverend S. W. Smith of Dewville, Texas; Mrs. Emma Roberts of Robert Lee, Texas; and Mrs. Lillie Davis, wife of W. T. Davis of Luling Texas. Lieutenant Dock's family consists of his wife and one daughter, Mrs. Mary Butler of Magnolia, Arkansas. His deceased children were Samuel Daniel and Arthur Daniel.
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