Capt. Mulrennan and ten men went to the place lately occupied by Whitehurst for he is expected to be back after his things, and if they come there will be a chance for a fight. There is only eight men left here at present and should the enemy come we would have to take to the woods for safety.
Sunday. Truly this is a cosmopolitan company, it is composed of Yankees, Crackers, Conchs, Englishmen, Spaniards, Germans, Frenchmen, Italians, Poles, Irishmen, Swedes, Chinese, Portuguese, Brazilian, I Rock Scorpion Crusoe; but all are good southern men. There are also Scotchmen, Welshmen and some half Indians, surely this is the greatest mixture of nations for a small company that I ever heard of.
Shot a fine large steer, it was the best beef that I have seen for some time. Made soup of the head and it is a positive fact that there was sixty gallons of soup made and drank this day and there is twenty of us. Besides there was about fifteen pounds of steak and 1 ½ bushels of potatoes cooked and ate during the day. Passed the evening at Mr. Coons house. He and wife and eldest daughter are highly educated and I wonder at their burying themselves in the pine woods of Florida when they have lived all their lives in the best of society.
Nothing worthy of remark today.
Saw a schooner going to the blockade.
Took our things over to the bayou and got ready to start in the morning.
Started this morning for Tampa with Mrs. Miranda and son, Miss Alice Curry and brother on board. It being calm had to pull all the way. Arrived at 2 o’clock PM. Heard that Charley Collins had married Mrs. Black the night before. In the evening a lot of us went over to his house and gave him a serenade with tin pans & etc he came out with his fiddle and struck up also. We then stopped the noise and he and Woods played several very nice tunes together, after which we went to the officers quarters, took an old fellow that belongs to our company named Pratt that was living with a negro woman that cooked for the officers and rode him on a rail down to the wharf and threw him overboard. We then gave him a lecture, told him what it was done for and that if he was caught doing the like again that we would give him thirty nine lashes, after which we went to our different quarters and turned in.
Nothing worthy of remark took place during the last two days except that I joined Capt. Mulrennan’s company. Capt. Smith wanted me to join his company and offered to make me first masters mate and quartermaster of his company but I preferred being with Mulrennan. At 11 o’clock AM the alarm was given that the enemy was in sight and coming up the bay. We all took our arms and ran down to the ditches all hands anxious for a fight. A large schooner was coming towards the town and after keeping us waiting for over an hour came to anchor behind an island two miles from town. Picket guards were set at all the different roads leading to this place for we are of opinion that the Yankees have landed men below us and came in the schooner to draw our attention while they march up in our rear. A boat was seen coming from her and two of our boats were manned and went out to her. She had a flag of truce and demanded the surrender of Tampa. Major Thomas told them that her would not surrender it. The Yankee officer then gave him twenty-four hours to take the women and children out of the town as they would attack the place at the end of that time. Our men gave three cheers at the prospect of having a fight which made the men in the Yankee boat look down in the mouth as they expected to see us all look frightened and ready to surrender. Capt. Smith told us to take all of our clothing and carry them up the river as the enemy might come too strong for us and should we have to retreat it would be impossible to carry anything with us. A strong picket guard on all day and night. I am at work making cartridges tonight.
No sign of the enemy but there is a bright lookout for them.
Turned out at 4 AM and marched until 11 AM when we halted and ate dinner. Started again at 4 PM and stopped at 7 PM, cooked and ate some fresh beef and corn coffee and turned in for the night.
Started at 5 AM and passed through Jacksborough at 11 AM and halted at the foot of Big Creek Gap in an apple orchard, drew three days rations and were ordered to cook them but before one half was cooked we were ordered to start but after putting our cooking utensils in the wagons we were told that we would not start until 10 PM, but we remained here all night.
Started at daylight through the gap and of all the rough and steep roads for wagons and men to pass through it beat all. Towards night I was taken sick with fever and a dreadful pain in my breast and sides. I kept on until night when I could go no farther, so I rolled myself up in my blanket and laid down by the side of the road all night and in the morning I crawled along until I reached a house. I stopped there for two days during which time I put nothing in my mouth but cold water. I was then put into a wagon loaded with pots and kettles and was in it for two days when I came up with the Regt. I was so weak and sick having eaten nothing for four days and nights and having a severe fever and pain in breast and sides all the time that I had to be led up to where my camp was. The most of them were asleep, it being about 10 o’clock PM. Remained with them next day and night, the Regt. Then started for Barbersville, Ky. And I, Wood and Gus Archer and McLaughlin were left together with many more sick men from the different companies. This place is called Boston, Ky, every person in it are Lincolnites. We stopped in houses with only one well man to take care of us. McLaughlin died the day we left and everyone thought I would go next but owing to the kindness of Wood and Archer I am yet alive for we left with but four days rations for flour, meal and beef. No doctor and not a drop of medicine. When we got well enough to begin to eat we had nothing to eat but green corn and green pumpkins and that we had to steal from the citizens. We stopped here for 12 days living on the food I have mentioned and I only wonder that it did not kill all of us. On the 2nd of September a party of 25 or 30 Yankee soldiers came and took up prisoners and paroled us on the same day for we were too weak to go with them. On the next day Wood, Archer and I together with several of Gette’s company started for Knoxville and for two days could not get a thing to eat except green apples. On the evening of the 2nd day we came to a house where our Regt. Had left some flour and we got some and baked it. It was the sweetest bread that I ever ate although it was made of but flour and water, for we were nearly starved to death.
We went to the P. Marshall, showed him our paroles and he told us that we would have to remain here until we were exchanged and sent us to the fair ground or the convalescent camp which I think is the most unjust thing that was ever heard of, for we were left line dogs to die among the Lincolnites, every prison in the place being of that stamp and the Regimental Officers must have calculated that we should either die or be made prisoners for they took our arms from us before the Regt. Left. The least that the P. Marshall could have done for us after all our troubles would have been to have sent us to Florida and allowed us to remain there until we were exchanged.
This is my birthday and I passed it by going up to the city of Knoxville and drawing some cooking utensils from the Quartermaster for we can get none at the camp. We carried them out to camp and had to rest every quarter of a site for we were very weak. Ended the day by cooking our rations which consisted of one pint of flour or meal, one tea spoonful of salt and one pound of beef which we have to boil for we are not allowed any bacon. Our camps are out two miles from the city which is very hilly.
We were ordered to fall in which we did, and an officer took our names and the Co. and Regt. That we belonged to when we were mustered into service and where.
Signed the pay roll and expected to be paid off but after waiting for some time were informed that we could not be paid. We were also requested to make out a list of clothing that we wanted to draw, we did so but received none, so I cannot make out what they mean by humbugging us in this manner and I will here say that Confederate soldiers are treated like dogs everywhere that I have been since I left Tampa. They are not allowed one half the rations that the army regulations call for for the quartermasters and other officers give them just what they like and pocket the balance and yet the soldiers knowing all this are foolish enough to put up with it. They grumble and growl among themselves but never try to get redress for their wrongs. Men are kept in the hospitals when the doctors know that they will never recover while in the hospital, yet they will not give them furloughs to go home but keep them here to die. 7 and 8 is the average of deaths per day here.
Started this morning for Tampa in the sloop boat Vetoe having on board 1000 oranges for sale and a lot of potatoes, salt, soap, syrup and sugar canes for Mr. Crusoe.
At daylight this morning we found that we had drifted out clean to the blockade. Two boats were soon in pursuit of us. We poked the boat as fast as we could but the boats gained on us very fast, we got ashore on the banks several times and had to jump overboard and shove her over, at length we stopped on the bank at Point Pinellas. I jumped overboard and waded ashore, but Gus stopped in the boat thinking that his parole would save him and the boat but they took him and carried him on board the blockade. I then walked over to Mr. Coons, had to wade several bayous and in crossing one I got bogged and fell down in the mud which was very black. When I got out I was an object to look at. However I pushed on and got to Mr. Coons in time for dinner and tried to hire his horse to take me to Tampa, but he told me that the horse was too slow, but that if I would stop with him until next day he would take me over to Mrs. Arnolds, on[e] of [the] traitors wives and she being present promised to take me to Old Tampa in her cart, so I stopped.
At breakfast table I was taken with chills and fever. Mrs. Coons gave me some hot pepper tea but it did no good and as I was sick all day I had to stay where I was until next day.
Started in a cart about 10 AM and arrived at Mrs. Arnolds at 4 PM. Stopped there all night and started in the morning for Old Tampa. On the road I was attacked with chills and fever and it being a very rough road I suffered very much, we stopped at about 4 PM at an old man’s house named Jessie Carlisle. I was in hoped of getting him to take me to Tampa in his cart but he was not at home, and old negro woman was there however and she made me a comfortable but very dirty bed and as the fever was still on me I turned in after having paid the woman for bringing me in her cart.
Got up this morning feeling much better but very weak having eaten nothing yesterday. The old woman soon had some port and potatoes ready for me. I ate a little and walked over to Mr. Kemps at Clearwater, a distance 5 or 6 miles. I found him very busy making sugar. I felt very well all day.
Had the chills and fever very bad all day. Mrs. Kemp gave me coffee and lime juice to break the chill. It was a horrible dose and made me very sick.
I am well today but very weak.
Sick again today. Took more coffee and lime juice which broke the chills but fever hung on all day.
Went over to Old Tampa in a cart as there is a boat to go to Tampa tomorrow. I stopped at Uncle Jessie Carlisle until 12 o’clock at night when Mr. Dominick called me and I had to wade out to the boat getting wet up to my waist.
Arrived at Tampa about 3 PM and was so weak and sick that I could hardly walk up to Mr. Crusoe.
The military doctor visited me this morning and gave me medicine. I am very weak for I have not eaten anything for a week as I have no appetite.
Feel much better now and have a very good appetite and will soon be strong again. Read several letters from our company, they suffer very much from the cold weather.