Kate Cumming: A Journal of Hospital Life in the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

Kate Cumming: A Journal of Hospital Life in the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

August 31, 1862.—Yesterday I arrived at Ringgold, Ga., in company with Mrs. May and Mrs. Williamson. We came here for the purpose of entering one of the hospitals at this post. We left Mobile on the 28th inst.; Dr. Pierce and many others came to see us off. Dr. P. introduced us to a Mr. Fogle from New Orleans. We crossed the Bay in the steamer Mary Wilson, which took us about three hours. We arrived at Tensas Landing in Baldwin County, and then took the cars for Montgomery. Mr. F. was very attentive, as was also a friend of his, a fine-looking old gentleman, who was a little crusty; but, as I said before, men seem to think that women have no business traveling now-a-days; so we did not mind him.

The country through which we passed was not very fertile. It is famous for manufacturing turpentine.

There was a very sick soldier on the cars, who seemed to suffer much from pain in his head, and groaned a great deal, which irritated our friend, the old gentleman. We did what we could to relieve him, for which he seemed grateful.

On the 29th we arrived at Montgomery about 6 o’clock A. M. We went to a very fine hotel, the “Exchange,” and got a nice breakfast, for which we paid one dollar each. Mr. F. and his friend found they had important business to detain them in Montgomery; so we were deprived of their pleasant company for the rest of the journey. They very kindly procured a carriage for us, and sent us to the depot, with instructions to the driver to put us in charge of the conductor, which he did. As we were on our way to the depot, Mrs. W. naively remarked, that she supposed the gentlemen had taken fright at the number of packages she had, and caused them to have such important business.

We left Montgomery about 8 A. M. on the West Point Railroad, and at 1 P. M. reached West Point, a post-village of Troup County, Ga., and is on the state line which divides Alabama and Georgia; is eighty-seven miles south-west of Atlanta, and forty miles from Columbus, Ga. The Chattahooche River runs through it.

There was a lady from Mobile on the cars, who was going with her negroes to settle at some point on the road, as it is expected that that city will soon be in the hands of the Federals. Mrs. General McCoy of Mobile was in the car, on her way to join her invalid husband in Virginia; he having gone there to visit a young son, a member of the Third Alabama Regiment, who has recently died from wounds received at one of the late battles around Richmond.

There was a broken car on the road, and the conductor was afraid he would miss the connection at West Point—the passengers did not like the idea of having to remain a day at West Point—so he did his best to hurry us on.

I think we gained by having no gentleman with us, as the conductor, Mr. Phillips, paid us special attention, which he seemed to do to all the ladies who had no escort. We changed cars at West Point, and received the same kind attention from the next conductor; and when we reached Atlanta, which was about dark, he accompanied us to the Chattanooga train, secured seats for us, and then checked our baggage. I shall never forget his kindness. I could not but contrast this trip with my last, the one on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. But I must remember that we had no general and his staff with us this time.

We arrived at Chattanooga on the 30th, at 6 A. M., tired and covered with dust, as we had come a distance of six hundred miles in about thirty-six hours. When within about thirty miles of Chattanooga, a special guard came around and examined our passes, which caused quite a commotion, as none of us had the right kind. We had procured them from the provost marshal in Mobile, but they did not amount to any thing, as an order had just been received from head-quarters at Chattanooga prohibiting any one going in there without a special permit. The men were very angry; but they, along with some ladies, had to get out at one of the stopping-places. We told the guard our mission, and showed our order for transportation, and were allowed to go on, as it proved we were friends to the government. There was a Mrs. Hanly on the cars, whose husband is chief of General Hardee’s artillery. She had a pass from General H. to go to any part of the Confederacy; it, however, proved of no avail; the guard told her she must get out; but she said firmly she “would not go.” When he saw her so determined, he gave up talking to her, and permitted her to go on. This lady had just come from Kentucky, and while there she had been taken for a spy, and very harshly treated by the Federals. She had succeeded in eluding the vigilance of the officers at Memphis, and had brought out contraband goods from that place, which she showed us when we reached Chattanooga. She gave us some nutmegs, which were very acceptable, as every thing of that kind is scarce, and we need them in seasoning food for the soldiers.

On arriving at Chattanooga, we went to the Crutchfield House, and then were told we could not get a room without a special pass from the provost marshal, and we could not get one from him, as we were not allowed to walk a square on the street without one. We were in a dilemma now, as we could not possibly eat without at least washing our hands. The clerk told us he would send water to the parlor for us to do that, and permit us to eat breakfast. If we could not get a pass after that, we must leave Chattanooga the way we came. After waiting in vain for water, I ventured to ask a white girl, who was sweeping the hall, for it. She quietly told us we could not have any till the next morning. I suppose this femme de chambre thought we were not dusty enough; for she walked into the parlor where we were and commenced sweeping away. In despair I went in search of Mrs. Hanly, who, more fortunate than we this time, had procured a room on General Hardee’s pass, of which she very kindly gave us the use. After breakfast, a gentleman told Mrs. M. and Mrs. W. he would take them to the post surgeon’s office by a road where there were no guards.

After they left, I was sitting in the parlor, thinking how strange every thing was, when in walked my old friend from Kentucky—Major Proctor. I was never more glad to see any one. He was indeed a friend, as he came in need. I told him how we were situated. He said he would arrange matters for us. I went with him to Dr. Young of Kentucky, medical purveyor of Hardee’s corps, who procured us passes. I found Mrs. M. and Mrs. W. already there. Major P. gave his word for our being loyal Confederates, and “no spies.”

The passes gave us permission to pass on the streets in the environs of Chattanooga until further orders. On our way back to the hotel, we had to show them to the guards, who did not seem to like the idea of asking us for them; but we did not mind it. Indeed, I am rather pleased that our authorities are so vigilant, as I think the southern people are too credulous, and apt to be imposed upon.

The army has gone into Kentucky. General Bragg has every hope that the Kentuckians will be glad to rid themselves of the hated Yankee yoke, and will rise en masse to join him.

Mrs. May and I called on the assistant medical director, Dr. Flewellen. He informed us that Dr. Thornton, whom Mrs. May came to see, was here; so we concluded to leave on the evening train. We paid Dr. Young a visit before leaving, and he kindly procured transportation for us to this place; this was quite unexpected; Dr. Y. is a whole-souled southerner.

We are stopping at a very nice hotel, the “Catoosa House,” a palace compared with the Hotel de Crutchfield. This very nice little village, on the Western and Atlantic Railroad, is twenty-nine miles south of Chattanooga. When we arrived, last evening, Dr. Griffin and Mrs. C., whom I had known in Corinth, called on us, and informed us that Mrs. Glassburn was here. I went to see her; she had three of the ladies with her—the others had all gone home. Poor Mrs. Nolan died shortly after leaving Corinth; I have no doubt, from disease contracted at that miserable place.

Mrs. W. and myself went to the Methodist Church this morning; in the afternoon we took a walk, and visited a saltpeter cave. The government is using the saltpeter for making gunpowder. I am told this portion of the country abounds in such caves.