September 17th, Wednesday.
Still floating about! This morning after breakfast, General Carter made his appearance, and in answer to his question as to whether we were ready to leave with him, Miriam replied, “Yes, indeed!” heartily, glad to get away from Clinton, where I have detained her ever since the day Theodore returned home, to her great disgust. As our trunk was already packed, it did not take many minutes to get ready; and in a little while, with a protracted good-bye, we were on our way to the depot, which we reached some time before the cars started. Though glad to leave Clinton, I was sorry to part with mother. For ten days she has been unable to walk, with a sore on her leg below the knee; and I want to believe she will miss me while I am away. I could not leave my bird in that close, ill-ventilated house. He has never sung since I recovered him; and I attribute his ill health or low spirits to that unhealthy place, and thought Linwood might be beneficial to him, too; so brought him with me, to see what effect a breath of pure air might have.
We were the only ladies on the cars, except Mrs. Brown, who got off halfway; but in spite of that, had a very pleasant ride, as we had very agreeable company. The train only stopped thirteen times in the twenty miles. Five times to clear the brushwood from the telegraph lines, once running back a mile to pick up a passenger, and so on, to the great indignation of many of the passengers aboard, who would occasionally cry out, “Hello! if this is the `clearing-up’ train, we had better send for a hand-car!” “ What the devil ‘s the matter now?” until the General gravely assured them that it was an old habit of this very accommodating train, which in summer-time stopped whenever the passengers wished to pick blackberries on the road.
Many soldiers were aboard on their way to Port Hudson, to rejoin their companies. One gallant one offered me a drink of water from his canteen, which I accepted out of mere curiosity to see what water from such a source tasted of. To my great surprise, I found it tasted just like any other. The General introduced a Mr. Crawford to us, who took the seat next to me, as the one next to Miriam was already occupied, and proved a very pleasant and talkative compagnon de voyage. General Carter’s query as to my industry since he had seen me, brought my acknowledgment of having made two shirts, one of which I sent yesterday. Who to? was the next question. I gave the name, adding that I did not know the gentleman, and he was under the impression that it was made by mother. “I’ll see that he is undeceived!” cried the General. “Hanged if I don’t tell him!” “Thirtieth Louisiana, you say?” queried Mr. Crawford. “That is the very one I am going to! I will tell him myself!” So my two zealous champions went on, the General ending with “See to it, Crawford; Mrs. Morgan shall not have the credit!” as though there was any great merit in sewing for one’s countrymen! Our new acquaintance handed me from the cars as we reached Linwood, and stood talking while the accommodating train slowly rolled out its freight. He told me he was going to send me a tiny sack of coffee, which proposition, as it did not meet with the slightest encouragement, will of course never be thought of again.
I noticed, too, on the train, one of the Arkansas’s crew. The same who, though scarcely able to stand on a severely wounded foot, made such a fuss about riding in a carriage while “real ladies” had to walk. Of course he did not recognize us, any more than we would have known him if Dr. Brown had not pointed him out. I hear all of them are at Port Hudson. Anna told me, as we got here, that Dr. Addison (the one I disliked because he was so scrupulously neat while the others were dressed, or rather undressed, for working) was here yesterday, and inquired for the Miss Morgans, saying they were the most charming young ladies he had ever met. On what he founded his opinion, or how he happened to inquire for us in this part of the country, I cannot imagine.
The General brings news of the boys from Jackson. He there met an officer who left Stonewall Jackson’s command on the 2d inst., and says Gibbes was unhurt, God be praised! Another saw George a week ago in Richmond, still lame, as the cap of his knee had slipped in that fall last spring. Of Jimmy we hear not a word, not even as to where he is. It seems as though we are destined never to hear again.