Monday, November 30–We were up pretty early, and our old rebel host appeared rather cool. He charged us a dollar apiece for rdging–the first and only man that took a cent from us. They generally would rather give us something than take anything from us. If we had had any kind of weapons we would have marched this Mr. Kincaid into Fayetteville that day. We left him deeply absorbed in thought as to who we actually were.
We walked very rapidly for ten miles down the river, and then took off across the country for Fayetteville. The nearer we got to our lines, the more uneasy I felt, to think, after coming so far, and through so many hardships, and then that we might be “gobbled up” in sight of our haven of rest. We also knew our doom would be death if we fell into the hands of the bushwhackers. At last I thought we could not travel fast enough, I was so impatient to get through.
About three o’clock P. M., as we made a bend in the road, we espied off ahead of us a blue overcoat; it was a picket post. Can I describe our feelings at that time? I am not capable of the task. I only refer you to the indescribable joy of Pilgrim when he crossed the River Jordan. At the post we met some of the boys from the Ninety-first Ohio infantry. After they learned who we were, they were overjoyed to see us. A courier was sent in immediately to Colonel White, commander of the post at Fayetteville. An order was sent out to have us brought in. You may imagine we had not a very prepossessing appearance. Our clothes were hanging all in tatters and rags. I was nearly barefooted, and my feet were so bruised and sore that I could but just hobble along. We also looked dirty and mangy, and our countenances had a sallow, haggard look. Indeed, we were hard-looking specimens of humanity. Colonel White very hospitably received us, and furnished us with new suits of clothes. And the noble and generous boys of the Twelfth Ohio volunteers, shall we ever forget them? They took us in as strangers, and fed us; and not satisfied with doing that, they gave us thirty dollars in money. Brave, generous fellows: may your future be a bright and happy one. We now felt ourselves at home; we had run the blockade; we had for once, as common soldiers, out-generalled the rebels, and made good our escape. WE were sixteen days and nights making the trip of two hundred and fifty miles, over a dozen mountains, wading streams of all sizes, suffering from cold, and all manner of hardships. Always in danger, scarcely saw a moment that we felt safe, making ventures all the time for something to eat. We entered twenty-two houses; nineteen of them were Union. We ate nineteen meals in houses, and slept three nights in houses. To the good loyal people of the country, and the All-wise Creator, that rules the nations, we owe our success.
We remained at Fayetteville two days, and then proceeded with letters to General Scammon, at Charleston, West Virginia. He very cordially received us, and sent us on, with passes, through the lines of his department.