A South Berwick Yankee Behind Confederate Lines (Part II) by George Washington Frosst
A SOUTH BERWICK YANKEE BEHIND CONFEDERATE LINES, PART II: Thursday morning June 5th, 1862
Union prisoners from Richmond, Va. sent South via Castle Godwin: James King; John Scully; Price Lewis; August Bittersill; Ja. J. Ash; Alex. Myers; Lieut. Geo. W. Twells; Hugh Mc Mahon; Gabriel Cueto; John McCalland; Jas. Robertson; Henry Wingo alias Smith; Lewis Bache; C. R. Turner; Wm. Reynolds; Chas. Gennell; Frank Livingston; J. S. Lovett; M. Lovett; Allen Leonard; L. H. Trook;
Gabriel Cueto was a Scotchman who was arrested just outside the district of Washington sometime in May and brot. to Castle Godwin. He was supposed to be a spy for the Confeds by most of our party in room No. 8, and at first treated rather cool. But then I extended to him the right hand of fellowship and shared with him what was sent to me from home, and we soon became fast friends.
I learned from him that his Father had been a trader in India, also in South America. Cueto was a young man, perhaps twenty five or thirty years of age, and of a very liberal education. And, in once sence of the word, was an adventurer, but withal one whose sympathy was with the United States govt.
We became fast friends while at Salisbury, and often talked over our situation beneath the shade of Oaks in our enclosure.
Cueto was released and sent through the lines to Washington some time in the folowing Sept. I saw him for the last time Sept. 25th when he passed through Richmond under guard on his way to Washington. Soon after I learned by Henry L. Pelouse that Cueto had died of typhoid fever in New York City.
J. B. Kimes of Phila. was another firm and fast friend of mine. He was superintendent of the Slate quarries in Charlottesville, or near by when arrested and brought to Richmond. While at Salisbury he in some way was detailed to work in the bake house of the U. S. soldiers who furnished us with our bread. Kimes was a true blue and was sent through the lines at the same time as Cueto. At the evacuation of Richmond, Kimes, as Capt. of a company, was first to enter the city.
July 17th, 1862
On July 1, the end of the Seven Days Battle of the American Civil War, Confederate commander Robert E. Lee successfully turned back Union General George McClellan's Army of the Potomac in its attempt to capture Richmond.
Frank Humphries, Cueto and Tip (Landis) attempted to escape, caught and brought back.
Our enclosed grounds at Salisbury were quite large and beautifully studded with large oak trees; in the trees there were many squirrels, some of them the flying species. Cueto and myself had two given us which in a very short time became quite tame, and were constantly with us. One day while we were sitting under the shade of an Oak with our Pets, speaking of one being deprived of their Liberty, Cueto suggested that we release our prisoners, for who knows, said he, but that it may shorten our term of imprisonment. We at once decided to liberate our pets, and away they went skipping from tree to tree, chirping thanks to us for their Liberty and Freedom to seek their old homes among the oaks.
Paroled from Salisbury
Less than one week afterwards the outside guard of our citadel were seen approaching the door, calling out the names of Frosst and Hancock brothers. Answering to our names we were asked how we would like to go to Richmond. Learning that we had no very serious objections and that we fancied, the trip would be very enjoyable. We were told by the Corp'l to be ready by 6 o clk, it now being about 4 oclk P. M. It did not take us but a short time, I assure you, for us to get our "dunnage" together, and by the time our "escort" arrived we had finished saying "Good-bye" to our friends and fellow prisoners, soon to be on our way rejoycing, believing that soon we were to meet our loved ones from which we had so cruelly been separated but sorrowing to leave so many true and faithful friends behind; Friends who were true and loyal to the old Flag of their Fathers.
After waiting at the station (which was a pile of old railroad ties) until nearly 8 o clk P.M., we were informed that an accident had occurred somewhere on the road and it would be impossible for us to proceed on our journey before the next day.
What our feelings were in this disappointment I will leave others to imagine, but I assure you that it was anything but of a pleasant character, although we knew not what was in store for us when we should arrive in Richmond.
In no good humor, we were escorted back to our Old Quarters, to remain until "the coast was clear."
As our old friends which we had bid good-bye a short while before saw us returning, they were amazed and plied us with many questions in regard to our failure to get off, some of them asking how we found "matters and things" in Old Richmond.
Various conjectures were made by some as to the reported accident; had the Yankees cut the rail-road?
If so, we were just one day too late in taking our "clearance papers." It was late that night before sound sleep had quieted our thoughts, that had been uppermost in our minds during the past few hours.
When morning came, it found us watching and waiting for the minions of Jeff Davis to make their second appearance and conduct us outside the garrison to the conveyance which were to take us to Richmond. The day had nearly passed however when we received the second summons to pack up and try it again. Again we were mustered forth and filed up in front of the old rail road ties to await the coming of the train headed for Richmond.
We were put in charge of Capt. Spike, a young officer who haled from Statesville, who was to deliver us over to Gen. John Winder, then in command of the local forces in and around Richmond.
Capt. Spike, who was on his way to Richmond to join his company, saw that we were provided with comfortable seats, the cars being full of recruits. On our entering the cars, the Capt. told us to make ourselves as comfortable as possible and left us to look out for ourselves. No one would have suspicioned that we were in his charge, he made it so pleasant for us. He was often absent from our car for hours, his manners toward us whenever we met was that of a Soldier gentleman, never for once showing that he had any authority over us.
When we reached Raleigh early the next morning, Capt. Spike informed us that we would be delayed there some three hours or more and we were at liberty to roam through the town at will. We visited the most interesting portions of the City, including the Capitol or State House, and returned to the cars in ample time to resume our homeward journey, which was quite late in the day. After two nights and two days, we were landed in Richmond about 9 oclk P.M. Capt. Spike had been instructed at Salisbury to deliver us to Gen Winder in person. Being too late for office hours, we called at his residence and found that the Gen. was out somewhere on a frolic. The Capt. thought by going to the Provost Marshall's office we could find out the whereabouts of the old General; if not, Major Griswold, Provost Marshall. When we arrived there we found only a few half drunk Baltimore Plugs acting as detectives.
When we entered the Provost Marshall's office, one of the men who appeared to be in authority came forward and was met by Capt. Spike, who stated his business, which was that we were residents of the city and had been brought from Salisbury, N. C. on a requisition from Genl. John Winder to be delivered to the Genl. in person that night, that he had called at the Genl. residence and found him absent. The "Plug" assured the Capt. that his request would be attended, that we should be taken to Genl. Winder that night, however late.
Scarcely had Capt. Spike left the office when a brief consultation was held by the "Plugs," and we were told to follow a man who stood by the outside door armed to the teeth with gun, sword and pistols. Thinking that we were on the track of the wiley General, we picked up our traps and followed our walking arsenal.
After leaving Broad street we found ourselves going down Governor St. toward Franklin St. and down to Lumpkins Alley. Then it dawned on us that we were booked for our old quarters in Castle Godwin.
When we arrived at the castle, our guard halted and bid us enter; here we were facing another squad of Baltimore Plugs who conducted us up a flight of stairs to our old "camping ground," Room No. 8. If we had been led out to (be) shot, our feelings could not have been much worse! "So near our homes, And yet so far." Not knowing what might the next move be, as we knew not why we had been brought thus far to our homes. We found our room far different than when we left it some three months before. Then all the inmates were in "one accord," peace and quietness dwelt within, but now it was filled with deserters, toughs and cutthroats from the Confederate Army.
One can imagine that we were not inclined to sleep as they were carousing nearly throughout the night, and at times we felt that our life was in jeopardy. Although much fatigued from our late journey, we slept but little during the night and was more than glad when we saw daylight peeping in through the windows, in hope for a speedy delivery from this Hell we were in.
Early that morning, for some reason unknown to us, we saw Philip Cashmeyer, a Baltimore detective, accompanied by one of the party we saw at the office of the castle as we entered the night before. Cashmeyer and his companion slowly sauntered along toward that corner of the room in which we were standing, "waiting for the cloud to pass by." They evidently were looking for us. Knowing Cashmeyer's influence with the party in power, and at General Winder's office, we informed him of our situation and of our treatment since returning to the city, by being thrust into a place with a gang of thieves and cut-throats the night before, when we should have received decent quarters after knowing the Genl. could not be found.
When we asked of him his influence to see that we should have an interview with the General, he replied with one of his hypocritical and blarney smiles, Well, you are aware, I suppose, that you can always catch flies with molasses, signifying that his services required us to part with a large portion of our shin-plasters This we thought rather hard, as neither of us had any great amount of this Confederate production by us. However promising him that a certain amount would be forthcoming, when we arrived to our homes, he told us to be in readiness to accompany him in about one hour. We waited patiently; every minute seemed to us an age. But at last came Phill Cashmeyer, and we were soon on our way to Genl. Winder's office.
Not finding the old Genl. at his place of business, we were taken down Main St. to the office of Judge Sydney Baxter, who decided all points in cases of disloyalty that were supposed to exist among the majority of those "held in bonds." We were separately ushered into the private apartment of the Judge, whom we found a very quiet gentleman, "full to the brim" with humanity and kindness. If I remember right, I was the first of our little party to appear before the tribunal. The Judge spoke to me in a most pleasing manner and bid me be seated. He then asked me my name, birthplace, and how long I had resided in Virginia; my occupation, if married to whom, when, and if a Virginian, and why I had any scruples in not giving my aid to the southern confederacy; also if I had any knowledge why I was arrested, what employment I was engaged in when arrested, and why I had refused to take the oath of allegiance to the confederacy. My reply was for the same reason you would not expect a man, a native of Virginia, living at the North, to side with her and give her his aid. At this point the Judge opened a large book that laid on the desk before him and slowly turned its leaves until he reached a certain page. After perusing it a few moments, he turned to me and said, Frosst, I find nothing in my book against you, but a suspicion of disloyalty, and this should not deprive you of your liberty if no greater offence is brought against you. All I can do is turn your case over to Genl. Winder. My partners, John and Thos. Hancock, went through the questions similar to those put to me, then a brief letter was handed to Cashmeyer, who at once headed us for the office of Genl. Winder, to add a little more red tape.
When we arrived at his office, the first one we met was "priest" Higgins, who with much blarney seemed glad to see us back in Richmond. Cashmeyer exchanged a few words with him in low tones and retired to the Genl.s private room in the rear.
Soon the Genl. made his appearance and was met by Cashmeyer, who after a short parley delivered to him the letter from the Judge, saying (pointing to us) that we were the party alluded to by the Judge. After perusing the letter which had been sent to him by Judge Baxter, the General drew near us and said, Well, men, for the sake of your families and friends and from Judge Baxter's report, I have determined to parole you, giving you the liberty of the city, but shall require you to report at this office very other day, say three times a week.
After giving us our necessary papers, we speedily turned our faces homeward, lighter in heart and mind than we had been since March 15th, 1862.
As our homes lay in different sections of the city, we soon became separated, but to meet again the next day our shop on 20th street and form some plan for the future.
Planning the Route North, 1863
In December 1962, following Frost’s imprisonment during the Union drive to capture Richmond, Union General Ambrose Burnside's plan to take the Confederate capital leads to a dramatic Union defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Frosst apparently decides to try to bring his young family north to South Berwick, where his mother, his aunt and two brothers still lived. (In a South Berwick map of c. 1860, a J. Frost, perhaps George’s brother Joseph Frost, lived on today’s Sewall Road.) During the winter and spring of 1863, Frosst makes two exploratory trips across the Mason-Dixon Line, departing on February 5 and March 25.
Left Richmond, Va. with C. P. Cardozo for Baltimore. Md. February 5th, 1863.
Commenced snowing when we arrived at Old Church Hanover,
William Lohman furnished us with a team and negro driver. Arrived at Millers Tavern, about 4, oclk, P. M. still snowing; smallpox reported to be in the Tavern, took up our quarters in a small house situated in the lawn, which had at one time years before, been used as a doctor's office; here we took a scanty supper, and retired for the night, on an improvised bed of every species of bedding. Being very tired, we were soon asleep, and felt quite refreshed on the morning of the 6th.
After "partaking" of another scanty meal we concluded to resume our journey. It was at this place that we learned Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry were stationed nearby, and it would be necessary for us to report at his headquarters, and show that we had permission from the proper authorities in Richmond to cross the lines. When near the camp we were halted by the guard and conducted to headquarters where our papers were examined, and we were allowed to proceed on our journey; halted for a short time at Centercross, got conveyance to the Rappahannoc river where we crossed about sundown, stopped that night with an old man by the name of Mossenger, a very boistrerous old fellow, but he gave us a good supper, and place to sleep. We were ferried across the river by two negro men, by the name of John, and Silas. Early on the morning of the 7th, we started for the Potomac river, Arrived at Old Man Snyders, who lived near its banks, about 4,oclk. P.M. and found him making preparations to cross the Potomac river that night. The river at this point was about eight miles wide, and nearly opposite to St. Georges island in St. Mary's county Maryland. Our boat, in which we were to cross, was made of rough boards, and resembled a huge box about twelve or fifteen feet long, by three feet wide. When we were ready to cross, which was about dark, we found that the party that was to go over consisted of nine persons, as the boat was rowed all the way it took us five hours to reach St. George's island our landing place. Here we remained untill morning with as tough a party as ever dwelt on the shore's of the Potomac. When morning came we were ferried from the island to the main-land and started on foot for the nearest residence, which we were told was that of Mr Richard Hibb's. After a tiresome walk we reach Mr. Hibb's residence who we found at home, and the most hospitable man we had ever met in our travels. It being the sabbath, on the 8th Hibb's family were at Church, and he insisted on us to stop and take dinner with him, and he would put us in the way to reach Washington, without much trouble. That evening he took us in his carry-all and started for Leonardtown where we could take a stage for Washington, D.C. when we arrived at Leonardtown about 9,oclk, that night, the stage was so crowded inside, and out, that we could not get a passage. Hibbs seeing our situation, said that we should go through, if he had to take us there in his carry-all, so off we started. On our out from Leonardtown, we ran across a camp of U.S cavalry, who had just arrived there, and we expected every minute to be halted and give an account of our "mid-night ramble," but they did not molest us, Hibbs whipping up the horses, we were soon out of hearing, and on our journey, where I knew not. After an all-night ride over some of the roughest roads I ever rode over, we arrived at Charlott. Hall about six o.clk on Monday morning of the 8th. After a short rest and nap, we bid adieu to Mr Richard Hibbs, heartily thanking him for his kindness and unbounded hospitality, we took the stage there for Washington, where we arrived about 9.oclk P. M. On our trip up from Charlott Hall we became aquainted with a young man, who knew Hibbs well, he was going through to Baltimore. As we could not get through that night he proposed that we should stop at the Centrel House. cor 6th and Penn. ave.
That night we three occupied the same room there being two bed, Cardozo and I sleeping in one, the stranger by himself in the other, before retiring we saw that all doors were securely fastened, being very tired, we soon fell asleep. When we awoke in the morning we found that some one had entered our room and rifled our pockets, fortunately all that I had was on my person. Cardozo lost a small amount, but the stranger lost a valuable gold watch, and some money.
Early that day, we took the train for Balto. and secured board with Mrs. Satterfield number 16. south Calvert. st. Remained in Baltimore untill Feb. 21st. took passage on the schr. John U. Denis Capt Gladden, for Pitts wharfe. Accomac. Co. went to the house of Benj Evans. and stopped over night, was treated royally. This was on the 23d.
Found conveyance to Sykes island, where we were to cross the Chesapeake Bay.
Stopped at the house, of Mr. Abram Lewis by the way, a most excellent family. untill the 28th. when we crossed the Bay in the sloop. Nibbling, Dave Marshall, skipper. and landed at Balls creek, near Damerous marsh, stopped with the Ball family. March. 1st. 1863. started this day for Carter's creek on the Rappahannock, arrived at Alonzo James, head of creek, from there to Capt. Woody's near the mouth of creek.
Stopped at Capt. Woody's that night.
Capt. Woody, house was situated on a high bluff near the mouth of Carter's creek, had a young man in his employ by the name of Parks; both were from Wellfleet. Mass, I think, and before the war, owned, and commanded a small vessel, on the Rappahannock, and Chesapeake Bay.
March. 2d. crossed the Rappahannock at Brandon, stopped for a short time at the house of a Mrs. Layton, from there we went to Saluda, and Little Plymouth, Tuesday 3d arrived at Mr. Bullman's. who kept a house of entertainment. near Little Plymouth. On the 4th. arrived at the Pamunkey river. from there we took the cars at White House for Richmond, passed through the battle fields, where McClellen left much that showed he left hurredly. Arrived in Richmond, March. 5th.1863. Having been gone one month, to a day.
On my second trip through the lines, in company, with Charles P. Cardozo. Alfred King, a carriage maker of Richmond. Edward Robinson. an attache of the Richmond Post Office. we started March 25th 1863.
We went on the York river cars as far as the "white house" crossed the Pamunky river and walked to a Mr. Mitchels in King. Wm Co. from there we got conveyance to Urbana where we arrived on the 26th. about dark. Found a squad of Fitz. Lee's cavalry on guard duty, many of them were from Lynchburg. Va. They were quartered in a small wood church. They were a right good lot of fellows, and allowed us to pass over the Rappahannock, without much questioning; cross the river that night and again stopped at Capt. Woody's From there, we started for Balls creek, where we arrived late in the day of the 27th. Laid over untill the 29th. for want of conveyance to take us across the Bay. Sunday. Dave Marshall, with his sloop "Nibbling" entered the creek, and agreed to start with us across the Bay that night. It had been blowing quite a gale all day. wind N. E. and there was a heavy choppy sea outside of the creek, and the distance from there, diagonally across to Sykes Island, where we were to land was about fourty miles, so Dave Marshall said. Any way, we were willing to risk it, as Dave was a most excellent "skipper." Sunday evening about sundown on the 29th. we started, When out about 3 miles it began to blow most furiously, and we were compelled to go below, as the sea was completely breaking over us, Dave thought our chances of getting over safely that night was rather slim, so put about, and ran back to the creek, and waited untill the next day. As the Bay was patroled by armed vessels, on the lookout for blockade runners, which when caught were carried to Fort Monroe, we did not dare to make the trip in the daytime. Monday night came, March. 30th. The Bay had calmed down, with a fine southerly breeze. Starting again, we had a pleasant run, and arrived at Sykes Island about sunrise on the morning of the 31st. crossed over to the mainland. and went to the residence of Mr. Benj Evans. Pitts wharf Pocomoke river. Here we found Capt. Gladden, read to sail that evening for Baltimore. at 3. o clk. The Capt. had a family on board, and all their furniture, The family occupying the cabin, We were compelled to make our quarters forward among the furniture here we found some excellent bedding which we made good use of. as the night proved cool, and stormy. As we ran out of Pocomoke river, into the "Sound," it began to snow very thick and heavy; we could hardly see three feet from the vessel. As we were nearing Watt's Island, the Capt, thought it best to anchor there for the night to keep from being down. In the morning the storm had abated, and proceeded up the Bay. This was on Sunday April. 5th. when we arrived at the mouth of the Pautuxet river, it became calm. and we ran in there for the night, early on the morning of the 6th. we entered the Patapsco river, and late in the day were in Balto. Went to Mrs. Satterfields. 16 Calvert. st to board.
Wednesday. 8th. Left Baltimore in the cars for New York. Cardozo. King & Robinson stopping in Balto. while on my way to New York. concluded that I would push on through to South Berwick. Me. where my people lived. Arrived at Boston on the 9th. too late for the eastern train. put up for the night at the Tremont Hotel. In the morning at the breakfast table saw Samuel Hale, Esqr. agent of the South Berwick cotton mill. I had not seen him before since 1847. Took the early train on the 10th. and reached So. Berwick about 10.30 A. M. All were glad to see me, and wondered how I got out of Virginia. I had much to tell. Mother, Aunt Sarah, Brother's Joseph, and Abel. of what I had passed through, since I saw them in 1859. I stopped with my people untill Monday. April. 13th. on that day I left for New York, telling them, I was working to get my family out of Virginia. Arrived at New York. on the 14th. stopped over night with Mr. Phillips. who had a brother in Richmond, pressman at the Dispatch office, On the 15th. left N. Y. for Balto. where I arrived on the 16th. Stayed in Balto. untill the 30th. when I went aboard the John U. Denis which was to sail that night for Pitts wharf. Pocomoke. river.
Cardozo, who had ran across Geo. Minnis an old friend in Balto. took another route and would meet me at Ben Evans, Pitts wharf. King, and Robinson, were in New York. and would stop there sometime.
Vessels passing up, and down the river and Bay at this time, were under restrictions in regard to passengers, and merchandise. and were inspected at Fort McHenry. But I managed to get through all right, and met Cardozo, and Minnis, at Benj Evan's. From there we crossed over the Sykes Island. May. 3d. we crossed the Chesapeake. in a large canoe. called the Stonewall, and landed at Balls creek, taking nearly the same route back, that we came. and arrived in Richmond May. 7th. 1863.
The Frosst Family’s Flight North to South Berwick, 1863
In mid-1863 the war hangs in the balance. The Confederates defeat Union forces at Chancellorsville, Virginia, as Frosst returns from South Berwick in early May. The Battle of Gettysburg has just ended in Union victory in July as Frosst and his wife, Emma, make final preparations to leave Virginia with their two small children, George and Ella.
After returning home from my trip North. May, 5th. 1863, I began to make preparation to take my family North.
As I had made safely, two trips across the lines, I felt confident that there would be very little trouble, in doing so. I consulted with a friend Mr. Wm Lohman, in regard to conveyance, as far as he would be permitted to go with his team, also to store what few articles, I did not care to lose, I began to dispose, quietly, of my household goods, to the best advantage, leaving my interest in the Machine Shop. in the care of my partners, Mesr. John and Thomas Hancock. Our shop was near the cor. of Main, and 20th st.
It was near the 20th. of July, before I had fully made my arrangements to "shake off the dust of my feet,” against old Richmond.
In settling up my accounts, after the disposel of my goods, I found that I had about two thousand (2000) dollars in Confederate scrip, and a few hundred dollars in greenbacks, Gold, and silver, beside one hundred dollars in California bonds, which were quoted at par. I was living on Broad. st. bet. 6th. and 7th streets nearly opposite the Montecello Hotell, & Hall. The house I rented from John Does, who lived in the adjoining house, I rented out several rooms, confederate scrip was then selling at the brokers, five, and six, for one of greenbacks, seven, and eight for gold.
On the morning of July. 23d. about 4.30. the carriage in which we were to make our first twenty miles drove up to our rear gate. It was driven by a negro named Price, who assisted me in getting on my trunk, containing wearing apparel of my wife and children, bidding our friends good bye, we entered the carriage and were soon on our way to Liberty and Freedom. Our two horses, were not of much account, and our progress over the Mechanicsville turnpike was rather slow, as we often had to step them for a rest. We passed over the old track I had taken on my first trip, occasionally stopping to gather blackberries that grew by the roadside, and were enjoyed by wife, and children. Ella, George and Emma.
Our horses were scarcely out of a walk, yet we kept plodding along until sun-down, and found that we were only eighteen, or twenty miles from Richmond, and not within sight of a house presently we came to a branch. running across the road; we had nearly crossed when one of our horses fell near the edge of the stream. Here we were in a bad fix, and it was getting quite dark, and our carriage in the middle of the stream, water about eighteen inches deep. I told the driver to go up the road and find some one to help us out. In about half hour Price our driver returned and said "that a man was coming to help us; soon a man came along with a cart and oxen. and backed up to the carriage door. and took us and our baggage out, and carried us to his house a few rods distant, then went back with the ox-team, and dragged out the horses and carriage to his barn near by; the horse that fell died that night, and next day Price returned to Richmond with the other, leaving the carriage, untill later. This trip so far cost me about One hundred, and fifty dollars, $150.00 Confed. The name of our Deliverer, who took us out of the stream, and under his care for the night, was a Mr. Roberts, both he and his wife treated us very kindly, giving us a good supper, plenty of good bread and milk for the children, and nice clean beds to sleep on. That night we slept very soundly, as we were completely worn out from our journey. Morning came, and after a nice country breakfast, Mr. Roberts started to assist me in getting a team to proceed on my way. It was here that I had my first encounter with a detective on the road, but quite a number the day previous had passed me, satisfying himself that my papers, so far were all right, we were allowed to go on.
Horses at this time in the country were very scarce, as the Confed. governmnet had confiscated all for their cavalry, and other purposes. I had a pass from the sec.y of War, to cross the lines, but my wife's only allowed her to go as far as Middlesex. Co. It was nearly 9. o clk. A. M. on the 24th before I was able to procure a team to take us further on, and then it was an ox-team.
I paid Mr. Roberts seventeen (17) dollars in currency for his assistance, board etc. and to a man by the name of Broach, seventy (70) dollars to take me a few miles farther on to a Mr. E. Wright's, where we, after a tedious journey arrived about 7 o. clk P. M. and stopped with him for the night for supper. We could only get corn-bread and milk. Accomodations for sleeping fairly good. For breakfast, we had a "shadow" of fried bacon, and corn-pones, which appeased our hunger, in a certain degree.
I gave the old gentleman a knife, which cost me 150 cents in Baltimore, to make arrangement with him to take us to Tappahannock, and paid fifty (50) dollars in green-backs, he saying that he had no use for Confed. money; thought the price rather steep but what could I do, I was compelled to go on, and no other team could be found for miles.
We started off quite early, and arrived at Sandy's Hotel, Tappahannock about noon, where we took dinner, and I had made arrangement with Sandy who by the way was a strong Union Man, to set us across the river that evening. While I was talking with Sandy, up rode the detective who I had met at the house of Mr. Roberts the day previous. He was I learned from Sandy a Balto. Plug, and head detective on the road. a very troublesome fellow to get rid of. He recognized me, and again requested to see my papers, which I handed to him. After carefully looking them over, and noticing that my wife's papers called for Middlesex county, he asked if she was not out of her way. I replied, you see that my papers allow me to cross beyond the lines, my wife and children wished to accompany me until I would cross the river. I have made arrangement with the Landlord of this house, to send my wife and children tomorrow down in Middlesex County. That I was talking the matter over with the landlord when he drove up. This statement (which was false) seemed to satisfy the plug that I was all right, and when he returned my papers, I invited him into the bar-room for a "smile" I saw by his countenance that it did not require a prophet to tell that he was fond of whiskey, and a large lot of it, at that. I noticed that he filled his glass to the brim. "Thinks I to myself." Old fellow, I'll fix you, if Sandy has whiskey enough in his house, so in a short time I gave him another invitation to drown his troubles, when he took a similar dose as his first. Then he mounted his horse, saying that he would return shortly. He had been absent about half hour, when he again reined up and alighted, looking very thirsty, and unsteady. Sandy and I again commenced on him, and soon he was in good condition to "pull."
It was now getting about 5 o.clk P. M. and I was anxious to get across the river before sunset, and the "Plug" was napping in a chair; he soon arroused however, and at my suggestion took an Eye-Opener, then said that he must return to his next post, which I was pleased to hear. Grasping my hand and bidding me a hearty good bye, again scrambling on his horse, reeling in every conceivable position, rode off down the road.
It was now my time to work. Sandy had two boys ready to set me and my family across the river. It occupied but a few minutes to pay my bill, and get my family and baggage on the boat. We had hardly crossed the river when a shower came on, but it did not rain but a few minutes. Here we were, not a person or house in sight, but we felt that we were comparatively safe from the Confeds. The U. S. troops occupying that portion of Virginia.
Some distance up the river from us, we saw an old delapidated shed which at one time had been occupied by fishermen; presently we saw a horse and buggy make their appearance. I called for the man who had charge of it to come, but he did not seem to understand what I wanted, and I started to interview him, and soon reached where he and his trap were standing. I stated to him my situation and asked his aid in taking us to Doctor Saunders who lived some two or three miles from there. He did not feel at first disposed to help me, untill I told him that I would pay him his price in good money to take my family and baggage up to the Doctor's. This seemed to strike him in the right spot, and he agreed to take them, provided I would walk and pay him five (5) dollars.
We soon loaded up his rickety old buggy and started up hill, over a very rough and ragged road. We arrived at the Doctors between eight and nine o.clk. and found the Doctor at home, who took us in, provided us with a supper, of bread and milk, and a place to rest our weary bones. This was Saturday night July 26th 1863.
Sunday morning, after breakfast, the Doctor sent us father onward, for which I paid him eight (8) dollars, in gold and silver, and three (3) dollars, for meals. Did not see any one of the Dr. family but learned that the Dr. wife was from the North, and of strong Union sentiments. Our next stopping place, where the Doctor's team was to take us, was at Pell. Delano's a short distance from the Potomac river where Delano, was to ferry us over.
We arrived at Delano's about 11 o clk. A. M. and found him absent, but was expected home that night from one of his trips across the river, Delano's Mother, two sisters and others that I do not remember were living on the place. A married sister of Delano was living near by, all were most excellent people, and treated us very kindly in every particular. In fact my people became very much attatched to them. They expressed much friendly feeling in parting with us, and wished us a safe journey through. Here we found several persons on the same mission as ourselves. It was on the 29th before Delano returned, and he made preparation to again that night, and we were taken to the mouth of the creek, from which we were to start across the river. I had paid Delano ninety (90) dollars, for me and family, in greenbacks. Near the mouth of the creek lived a family by the name of Short, here we found several men and women from Richmond, all ready to cross over. We stopped with the Short family untill Delano was ready to cross. Several gunboats had been seen during the day watching for blockade runners off the shore. Delano had been caught once, and if caught again would go hard with him, so he was cautious about starting untill the coast was clear. However about eleven (11) o. clk, Delano, thought it being quite dark, that he could venture across.
When we were stowed away on board of the boat, it was found that there were nine adults, four women and five men, three children, b. 3. and 1 1/2 years, besides three men to manage, and row the boat. Thus heavily loaded with this precious freight, off we started, the boat not more than eight inches out of water, we had eight or ten miles to go, but we had brave hearts and would rather sleep on the bottom of the Potomac that night, than be back in Richmond under the reign of Jeff Davis and his minions.
In crossing we ran close in under the stern of a gunboat, which was laying at anchor. If they saw us we never knew it. When about half mile past we hoisted sail, which increased our speed, and we were near in shore by two o. clk. after we had landed, we were again in a bad fix, there being no conveyance to take us to a residence. Delano told us that a Dr. Goff. lived about half mile up the road, but he was a rabid secessionist, and no doubt would treat us cool as an iceberg. So off we started, one of Delano's men taking my trunk, some of our men passengers taking the children. When we reached Dr. Goff's house we found them all asleep, routed the old man out and asked shelter for the night, which he refused, after much persuasion he consented to admit the women and children for the night, the men occupying the porch of his house, which was quite roomy.
In the morning, Thursday 30th. we secured an Ox-Team, which took the women, children, and baggage up to Leonardtown, a mile or two from Dr. Goff's house, the men acting as a body guard, walking each side of the team. We unloaded our team in front of Moore's Hotel, where we refreshed ourselves by taking a wash and a late breakfast, and enjoyed it.
Here at Leonardtown, I saw Mr. Camilier who I had met before at Moore's Hotel when Mr. Richard Hibb took me to Charlott Hall on my first trip.
While I was chatting with Camilier I noticed that Mason Loeb, a Richmond Jew that crossed the Potomac with us, was in conversation with the Dutch detective, who gave an occasional glance toward me, and who was employed by the government to take charge of all refugees from the south. This I was told by Camilier.
Presently the detective approached me and inquired if I was from Richmond. I replied that I was, and had my family with me at the Hotel. It was then it dawned on me that Loeb had informed on all who crossed the river the night before. The detective told me that he was compelled to take me and family in charge and report my case to the authorities in Washington which was likely to land us for a while in old capitol prison.
Loeb would not admit that he informed on me, but said that for ten or fifteen dollars paid to the "detective" I could escape the Capitol Prison. I paid the Dutchman fifteen (15) dolls. and as I had no fare to pay to Washington, felt satisfied that I was once more in the land of Liberty.
Saturday, August 1st. 1863
About 2:30 P. M. we were conducted by the detective on board of the government steamer, the Keyport, lyeing at her pier at Leonardtown. It was here that I for the first time in three years, that I realized that I was safe under the flag of my country. I had caught a glimpse of it several times while on my former trips, but never before had I caught the full meaning of it. For three long years I had lived under the mob law in Richmond. Had seen my Country's Flag lowered, and insulted, by those who had at one time had by oath pledged their lives and sacred honor to defend. At this time, when I stood beneath its folds, my emotions in realizing that I was once more under it are beyond discription.
Although thirty seven (37) years have passed since then, I can at this day fell the joyous thrill it gave me when I saw Old Glory floating above me. I felt like yelling with delight, and giving the stars and stripes one good rousing cheer, and throwing up my hat, I was almost crazy. It was, of course, only a flag, but it was my Country's Flag, I have never since seen anything so beautiful as it appeared to me that day. I felt like falling on my knees and thanking my God for deliverance. We steamed slowly up the river, but saw nothing that was more pleasing than the Star Spangled Banner.
We arrived at Washington about 7.30 that evening, and went directly to the old National Hotel, accompanied by the detective who told me that he would call on me early next morning. We were given a nice large front room with two beds, and I ordered our supper to be brought there on account of the children. After supper, we retired quite early and were soon sound and fast asleep. This was on Aug. 3d, 1863
About nine o. clk. next morning the detective called at the hotel and found me waiting for the decision in regard to my case. It did not take us but a few minutes to reach the head detective office, and found him out of the city. From there we went to the Provest Marshalls where I was introduced as a refugee from Richmond, Va. without giving my name. The gentleman to whom I was introduced eyed me rather sharply, and put many questions to me in regard to my life in the South. If I had ever been in the confederate army, and how I kept out of it, also how I managed to get through the lines, And last of all, where I was born, and my full name. When I gave him my name I noticed a gentleman who sat near tat his desk suddenly turn toward me, then arose to where I was standing, and said, Did I understand you to say that your name was Frosst, and that you came from Richmond? I replied that was correct; he also asked me in regard to the location of the differ military prisons, and the names of prominent Union people, which I gave him; then he told me that he had been prisoner-of-war in the Libby Prison. That his name was Todd; Addressing the gentleman who had been questioning me (he said), I can vouch for Mr. Frosst, knowing that the statement he has made is true, and that he is a most ardent Union Man. On his parole of honor, not to return south during the war, release him; After signing the parole I bid them good by, and went back to the hotel where my family were rejoicing at my escape from the old Capitol Prison. This was on Sunday.
Monday, Aug. 3d. settled my hotel bill which was twenty dollars, and took the cars for New York city, where we arrived about 3 o. clk A. M. next day. Went to the Dey. st hotel, and stopped the sailing of the steamer Metropolis that day, for Fall River. Mass. From Fall River, we took the cars to Boston, made close connection with the Boston, and Maine, R. Road, and arrived at South Berwick, Me about eleven o clk A. M. August. 5th 1863.