Provided by Angela Trigg, April, 2002. Posted with her permission (8 Apr 2002). The original may be lost; she got this from an existing transcription (which may be the source of transcription errors).
I was born in Abingdon, Washington County, Virginia, on March 12th, 1843, and entered the Naval Academy in September 1858, remained there three years until the War broke out when Virginia seceded in 1861 and came South. Made two cruises on the Practice Ship Plymouth, to England, France, Spain, Madeira Islands, and Cape de Verde Islands. (The Plymouth was afterwards burned at the Norfolk Navy Yard). I resigned from Annapolis in April 1861, the day after Virginia seceded, reported to Richmond and was afterwards ordered back to Norfolk to report for service, and was sent to Crany Island, at the mouth of Elizabeth River, for service, where a battery was being located under Captain William McBlair of the Navy, staid there for several months (had been in the United States Navy and resigned) and then was ordered to the Receiving Ship at Norfolk, where, after a short time, I was ordered to the Jamestown then lying off Mulberry Island in the James River, under the command of Captain Joseph N. H. BarneyT1, and I remained on the Jamestown and participated in the battle of Hampton Roads on March 8th and 9th 1862. The James River Fleet, consisting of the Patrick Henry, Jamestown, and Teaser under the command of Captain John R. Tucker, ran by the Federal battery at Newport News and in view and close to the Cumberland when she sank, and of the Congress, which ran aground in her effort to escape, after the Merrimac had rammed the Cumberland. The Jamestown was a wooden vessel, side wheel, and had been one of the line of the Old Dominion Steamers running between Norfolk, Richmond and New York before the War, a sister ship of the Patrick Henry. She mounted two guns, 32 pounders, a rifle cannon banded according to the patterns of Captain BrookT2.
Soon after running aground, the Congress, being subjected to a heavy fire, hoisted a white flag and some of the smaller steamers, Raliegh [sic], Beaufort, and possibly some others, were signaled [sic] along side to receive her surrender. In the accomplishment of this commission, these vessels were fired upon with musketry from the shore, and it is said also from the Congress, by which several men and officers were killed, among them notably, Lieutenant Jas. P. TayloeT3, a Midshipman William Hutter ThompsonT4. These vessels withdrew and the Congress was ordered to be destroyed, when she was set fire to probably by hot shot from the Merrimac.
About this time, or soon after, a number of vessels from Hampton Roads appeared upon the scene, notably the Minnesota and Roanoke, which had been sister ships of the Merrimac, and of the same class, 50 gun frigates. The Congress continued to burn all that evening and into the night, until her magazine blew up between twelve and one o'clock in the mid-watch. I had come on the deck of the Jamestown to keep that watch and witnessed the explosion, it was a brilliant sight. We were then lying under the guns of Sewals pointT5 and the Minnesota was aground on the middle bar between Hampton Roads and Sewals pointT6. The other ships of the Federal Fleet, that had moved up uponT7 Fortress Monroe to take part in the battle, had retired to the shelter of that Port. Next morning, Sunday, the Minnesota lay there stranded, aground and seemingly helpless and at the mercy of her enemy; she seemed an easy prey, but as we moved forward to take her, the Merrimac in the lead, a strange looking craft crept from behind her, aptly designated as the Cheese Box On a Raft, which proved to be the world famed Monitor. It was soon recognized that the Merrimac, or Virginia, had something to deal with besides the white hulk that lay so apparently helpless within our grasp, and such proved to be the case then and there the Naval warfare of the world was revolutionized and the wooden ship was recognized to have become effete and a back number trieme [trireme]T8. These two sea monsters at once became the center of attraction and fought it out until it was finished by a seemingly withdrawal of both. The Merrimac had become vulnerable from the exhaustion of coal and ammunition and consequential lightening until her hull below the iron was exposed. She was moreover leaking perhaps from the wrench she had received in ramming the Cumberland. Some minute and detailed accounts have been written and published by others, notably by Capt Catesby F R JonesT9, who was Executive Officer and commanded the Merrimac after the wounding of Admiral Buchanan the previous day. I only pertain to give a general account from memory of the event after the lapse of forty-seven years. I was then nineteen years old. After the battle we proceeded to Norfolk Navy Yard where the Merrimac went into dry dock for repairs, and as soon as this could be accomplished she again ventured forth for a new trial with the Monitor, this time under the command of Capt. Josiah FatnellT10 (as gallant a man as ever stepped the deck), accompanied by the small fleet that participated in her former achievement. The plan had been perfected to capture the Monitor upon this expedition, not doubting that she would come out for a renewal of the contest when offered to her, but in this way we were disappointed. As we went into Hampton Roads, we made her out under steam down near Fortress Monroe, accompanied on her way by the vastly superior Federal Fleet. There were several vessels lying across the roads near the mouth of Hampton Creek, and some of the wooden vessels were ordered across there to board and perfect a capture, for among these vessels, consisting of two brigs and a schooner was the brig Marcus of Stokton, N. J. and as we approached them Capt. Barney sent for me and ordered me to take a boat and board her. This I did without resistance or danger, as there proved to be but one man on board her, the others having abandoned the ship, I suppose upon our approach. We hove up her anchor and about that time the Raleigh one of our gun boats under the command of Capt. Joe Alexander, came along in sight and took us in tow and steamed back across the roads. There was lying in the roads at that time two foreign men of war, one English and one French, in the meantime the Merrimac was maneuvering across the harbor between us and Fortress Monroe, where the Monitor could be plainly seen under steam, and in sight of us with the captured vessels. In some accounts of this fight you have perhaps seen that the United States Flag was hoisted Union down as a signal of distress. This was done at my suggestion to Capt. Alexander who approved of it and thereupon the flag, as a matter of Taunt to the enemy, and out of a spirit of perhaps bravado, was unioned down to the rigging of the captured brig Marcus. We passed right by the foreign vessels and they witnessed the whole affair. The Monitor from her position afar off fired one shot across the waters but made no effort towards closer approach to the Merrimac or to join battle. After a time the Merrimac fired a gun to leeward, which was a signal that the fight was declined by her opponent, and thereupon we steamed back to Norfolk Navy Yard with our prizes. It was soon after this that the evacuation of Norfolk was determined upon, when General Johnston fell back from Yorktown on the peninsular in front of McClellan's army. The Merrimac employed in towing vessels, such as partially completed gun boats which had commenced at the Navy Yard of James River, loaded with naval stores, guns etc. We made several trips in this service past Newport News without incident or molestation, of course it was done at night.
The evacuation of Norfolk rendered the destruction of the Merrimac inevitable, as she could not be taken up the James River owing to her draft being unable to cross the bar at the mouth of the river and even if she could it is likely that the channel was not deep at that time so she could not have proceeded far enough to have been of material service. Her day was passed and she was destroyed by her crew, being set fire to and blown up. Thereupon the little James River squadron being on guard duty as formerly down about Mulberry Island, assisted in taking off the sick and wounded from Mulberry Island and King's Mill wharf. One morning after the destruction of the Merrimac three vessels appeared descendingT11 James River and commenced a bombardment of the small Confederate battery on the south side of the River at Harden's Bluff, consisting of four guns, 32 pounders. At this time there was not another mounted gun that I know of between that battery and Richmond, save those on the Patrick Henry, Jamestown and Teaser. Thereupon the Jamestown was dispatched to carry the news to Richmond. When nearing City Point Capt. Barney sent for me and delivered me a dispatch with orders to go ashore at City Point upon arrival at the wharf and make my way to Petersburg and send the contents of the dispatch to Richmond, and to make known to the Mayor of Petersburg the situation as I had seen it. I went up the Bluff at City Point to the house of Doctor Eppes, as I ascertained and was met by Mrs. Eppes, the lady of the house, on the porch, to whom I communicated the news of which I was the bearer and asked if it was possible to get a horse anywhere to convey me to Petersburg on my mission. She made reply that she had a riding horse to which I was welcome and that it would be at the door in a few minutes. She ordered it at once and said that I could leave the horse in Petersburg at a stable or with any responsible party I might know there and making no question whatever of expressing the least doubt but that she understood the whole situation and acted as if she were lending a horse to a neighbor for a ride to town or to church. I made quick time to Petersburg and fortunately met on the street as I got there Captain Goodwin, who was afterwards Major General of that city and was for years afterwards connected with the Norfolk & Western Railroad. I had been at Capt. Goodwin's house formerly with his son, with whom I was at the Naval Academy, M Peterson Goodwin. I told the Captain the commission I was on and he immediately suggested that there was a train about to leave the depot for Richmond with troopes and that would be my quickest and best chance to get there, and upon his suggestion, knowing his entire liability and responsibility I gave him the dispatch for transmission to Richmond, and left with him the horse, whist I ran to catch the train. In this I succeeded just as the troopes of a North Carolina Regiment were getting aboard the cars, and I met a Captain Faison of that Regiment with whom I had become acquainted at Fort Caswell, to which point I was at one time sent for duty under Capt. Perry St Clair and where I was stationed for a short time, and at Ft Fisher, before I joined the Jamestown as stated. After arriving at Richmond I made quick time to the Navy Department and called for the Secretary of the Navy. The attendant informed me that I could not see the Secretary that he was engaged with a number of officers upon an important matter. I impressed upon him that my mission was an important one and that I must see the Secretary at once, and thereupon Mr Mallory came into the Ante Room. When I told him that I was the messenger from the James River squadron and that it was I that had had the dispatch of the entry of the Federal fleet into the James River transmitted from Petersburg, upon this announcement he told me to come into the room with him, which I found filled with officers of rank and among them was one of distinction with iron grey hair and mustasche [sic] and whom without introduction or ever having seen him before I recognized as General Lee. He was giving orders to one or another of the officers present and directions as to fortification of the river. As soon as a proper interval occurred in this direction the Secretary announced to them that the messenger who had sent the dispatch was present and thereupon General Lee catechised me as to what I had done. Having informed him as to the number of vessels, where they were and that they were at the time I left bombarding Harden's point, that the vessels consisted of two iron clads, the Monitor and CalenaT12 and two wooden gun boats one of which was the Aroostook and the other the name of which I had forgotten, he resumed his directions as to the placing of guns, and directed that a fortification should be made at Drury's Bluff, that the river should be obstructed by the sinking of such vessels as were accessible on the channel at that point, among them the Jamestown, and that the guns should be taken off and mounted on the bluff. That the Patrick Henry's guns should also be mounted on the battery and that the crews of these vessels should man them, and I was ordered to report to the Jamestown that night in company with Capt Charles M Flaunteroy. I was struck at once with General Lee's familiarity with every detail and his accurate knowledge of every resource and accessory for meeting the emergency. We went that night on board the Jamestown and down to Drury's Bluff where she was dismantled and sunk in the river and her crew went ashore to mount her guns and man them. It was some days after that that the enemy made their appearance, by which time we had sunk several vessels in the channel and driven a number of piles across the river, yet the obstruction, if the enemy had known it was far from completed. The Patrick Henry's eight guns and the Jamestown's two and perhaps some other guns had been mounted by the time the enemy got there. Upon the appearance of this fleet they anchored the two iron clads at about point blank range three or four hundred yards below the bluff. We lined the shore with sharp shooters and the river being narrow at that point the men on shore were able to pick off any men on the vessels that made their appearance and to fire into their port holes when open. The fact is that here was a grand opportunity lost for that fleet instead of anchoring where it did if it had steamed on 500 yards further there was not a gun between there and Richmond, and within two hours of the time they anchored they would have landed a shot in the Capitol at Richmond that might have ended the war. It seems to me in the light of after events that a bold man in command of this fleet would never have lost such an opportunity for the fear of obstructions, torpedoes or whatnot. Perhaps FaragutT13 would not have lost it, perhaps Dewey would not have lost it, but John Rodgers did lose it and after fighting an almost invulnerable point for several hours they turned their prows down the river amid the cheers and jeers of the confederates. Captain John Taylor Wood, who had command of the sharp shooters lying along the bank, as they started down, hailed his quondam friend and compatriot Captain Jeffers with the information that that was not the way to Richmond.
I continued at Drury's Bluff until after the seven days fight where my brother William King Trigg was killed at the battle of Frazier's Farm. He was a member of Company G 11th Virginia Regiment and had participated in all the principal battles from Manassas, Williamsburg, Seven Pines and others in which that Regiment was engaged down to that time. He was wounded in a charge across open ground, as he described it to me on that field and was shot through the body. He was taken to Richmond by an ambulance Corps to the house of a cousin of ours, the wife of Doctor Conway, Cousin Ellen on Governor Street, and there he died on July 1862. My mother and sister were there at the time with him and they took his body to Lynchburg where he was buried in the Presbeterian [sic] Cemetery in the square along with our mother's people. I came out home with my mother in order to spend a few days with her and upon the eve of going back to Drury's Bluff I was taken down with Malaria fever and sciatica. It laid me up two or three months. As soon as I was able to go back I reported for duty at the Navy Department and was ordered to the gun boat Chattahoochee, which was being built in the Chattahoochee River, at a place known as Johnson's Landing, in Early County, Georgia, some miles above the junction of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers which form the Appalachacola. Here I spent the winter of 1862 63 and upon the completion of the gun boat we moved down to Chattahooche where we tied up to the bank. The gun boat was unfit for sea service, un [sic] fact was a useless enterprise. Here I was associated with Capt. Catesby Jones and Capt Guthrie, who was afterwards lost at sea in trying to rescue the crew of the United States Ship Huron, Capt William Whittle, Lieut. George W Gift and others. In the Spring of 1863 I was ordered to report to Charleston, South Carolina to Capt. Charles M Morris, and upon arrival at my destination I was told that we were to run the blocade [sic] and go abroad with several other officers for service on ships that the Confederacy was building on the Clyde at Liverpool and elsewhere. We ran the blockade at Charleston on a blocade [sic] runner called the Margaret and Jessie, she was pretty fast. One morning we sighted a sail which proved to be a Yankee Man of War and soon detected that she was giving us a chase and endeavoring to cut us off from our destination, which was Nassau on New Providence Island. We were loaded with cotton and would have proved a rich morsel in the way of prize money to our capturer. She commenced firing at us at long range and soon began to place her shots uncomfortably near. She was cutting us off from the passage between two islands which we were bound to take, as we were short of coal and consequently could not give her a stern chase. We ran in close to the island Eluthern and skirted along its beach and coral reefs as close as we dared to get. We were within British territory, a marine league of the shore of one of their islands our pursuer however was keeping up her fire, some of her shots going over us and far inland into a little village on the island. Presently she made a lucky shot and landed one into our boiler, this ended the chase. We ran her upon a coral reef and abandoned her as our only resort, going ashore only a few yards off. She lowered her boats and rowed around the wreck, but dared not to take her or rather did not take her because of her violation of the International Law was as flagrant as if she had taken her or taken the island with her. She was subsequently in a few days gotten off the reef by wreckers and taken to Nassau where I saw her afterwards. In the meantime we had taken a little fruit smack and arrived at Nassau. She had on board a quantity of gin which some of the boys discovered and as a consequence their voyage was an altogether unhappy one. Our party consisted of Capt C M Morris, Lieut H P Claiborne, Midshipman R C FootT14, IvyT15 FormanT16, H CT17 Littlepage, Kirby King and myself. Doctor Tom Emery, and Pay Master Douglas ForestT18. We remained in Nassau some two or three weeks. These men are all dead now so far as I know except Littlepage and Emery and myself. From Nassau we went to Havana and thence to St Thomas Island and thence to Southhampton and after spending some days in London we went to Paris and thence scattered in the Province towns awaiting orders. I with Claiborne, Foot and Forman went to Metz and afterwards Orleans, where we made the acquaintance of Mrs General Kearney, daughters and neicesT19 with whom we spent several months of as happy reminiscence as most any I have ever had in life. When it became known to our representatives abroad that the foreign governments, notably England, had taken such stringent measures to prevent any other men of war from being gotten out of her ports for the Confederacy, a number of us were ordered back to the Confederacy and sailed from Liverpool to Halifax, N.S. and thence ran the blocade into Wilmington, N.C. We came in at Fort Fisher inlet on the blocade runner Owl she was as fleet as a grey-hound, lay low in the water and painted light blue, a raking smoke stack and ocillatingT20 engines. The night we came in the Capt asked me to keep a look out for him on the upper wheel house. I observed that we were running right on a blocader at anchor. I had only time to warn the Captain who steered off from her leaving her close on our port beam. She seems never to have observed us, or she may have easily put a shot through us. In some confusion about the channel we had to slow down to take soundings, yet were enabled to pass on unobserved and next morning we were lying inside of Fort Fisher and Fort Caswell batteries at the mouth of Cape Fear. From Wilmington I reported to Richmond and in the meantime had been promoted to a Second Lieutenancy Confederate States Navy. On arrival at Richmond I was ordered to report to the James River Fleet, Captain John H Mitchell commanding, and was attached to the Virginia No. 2 Iron Clad, which was the flagship. On this vessel I continued until the end of the War, Captain Mitchell being succeeded in command by Admiral Raphael Semmes, under whom I was when Richmond was evacuated, April Second 1865. At that time Capt. Dunnington was the Captain of the Flag Ship. On the Second of April, which was Sunday, a number of the younger officers, of which I was one, had gotten permission from the Captain to take a boat and go over to one of the gun boats on a visit to Walter Butt, her Captain. Butt was a fine fiddler, in fact a violinist. We had just gotten on deck when someone announced a signal from the flag ship for our boat to return immediately. Upon stepping back on deck we were apprised of the fact that the signal had come that Richmond was evacuated and that orders were to destroy the fleet, arm the men for shore duty and join the army. We at once prepared for the destruction of the iron clads, saturating their decks with oil and were engaged all night in preparing for a complete destruction, and getting men, provisions, etc. to shore. Next morning about day-break we landed just below the obstructions at Drury's Bluff, set fire to the iron clads, and took the crews upon the wooden gun boats for transport up the river. When disembarking I observed that a part of the men had come without their arms, which had all been placed ashore at the place of landing and without their muskets. Thereupon I directed them to go back to provide themselves. Some of them objected and said that the boats were on fire and that the magazines would blow up at any time, and if they did anyone in the vicinity would be killed from the iron from the ships. I saw that there was nothing to do but to make an effort to procure the arms, or else let them go unarmed, and thereupon I asked them if they would go if I would go and we went back and each man got his musket, and as we proceeded up the river a short distance above Drury's Bluff the Fredericksburg blew up, just as the sun was rising, with a tremendous explosion, and it was indeed a beautiful sight. We could hear explosions all along the lines from Drury's Bluff and Chafer's Bluff all along our lines from which we could but augur the truth that the end was near, so far as Richmond was concerned, and for myself young as I was, enthusiastic with an absolutely unwavering faith in the success of my cause and in the justice of it and now, as much so as then, I did not believe and I had no idea it portended the end of the Confederate Capitol. Dunnington called me as we steamed up the river and asked me if I did not want a post of honor, to which I responded of course. He then told me the admiral wanted a howitzer brought out from one of the gun boats and directed that I should take as many men as I thought I would need for the purpose and described the howitzer at the landing opposite Rockets and bring it on upon getting it on shore. We at once got it stuck in the mud up to the axle and the men had great difficulty in moving it and sailor like commenced to quarrel. I saw that it was a useless operation and would involve the consumption of a good deal of time and so I directed a midshipman, whom I had chosen to go with me, Bartlett Johnston, who now lives in Baltimore, to report to Captain Dunnington the condition and tell him that I thought it was impossible to get the howitzer in any reasonable time and ask for orders. In the mean time I saw the Yankees coming into Richmond on the other side of the River, the streets seemed to be filled with a moving population, among them numbers of women and the whole lower part of the city on fire up Main Street as far as we could see. It was all on fire up to about 8th Street where the Spottswood Hotel was formerly situated. Bartlett Johnston approached soon reporting back that the Admiral said for me to remain with the howitzer and bring it out. This ended the matter with me but not so with the men, about 30 old sailors that I had with me, they continued to growl and to make uncomplimentary remarks about an Admiral who had given such an order. We stuck to it however and lugged it along up to Manchester where upon our arrival we found no trace of the command; that they had taken the last train of cars and had gone. This left me alone in the world. The men insisted on abandoning the howitzer but thinking that something might turn up I held them to it and we pulled it along by a drag rope through Manchester, when out in the suburbs we were passed by an officer, evidently a General, who proved to be General Stevens of the Engineers with his staff. As they passed by we greeted one another and they passing a short distance they seemed to hold a consultation in the road, all being mounted and one of the staff rode back and inquired as to what men we were. I told him and he then inquired as to what we proposed to do. I told him that I was simply obeying orders, and didn't know what I was going to do, and he said, "You don't want to be captured I suppose," I told him assuredly not, and he said, "This is General Stevens and his staff and we have been back to see that all of the bridges were on fire and there is nothing now between you and the enemy and you may be captured any minute" and I told him that my orders were imperative and told to bring that howitzer out and that I couldn't help the results and that I was disgusted and therupon after consulting with these officers I concluded I would be justified in abandoning the howitzer and thereupon destroyed the ammunition, dismantled and spiked it and called on the men to know how many of them desired to go out, to which all expressed themselves affirmatively and we took the road in the trail of the army that had gone on before, we were for that time the rear guard of the Army of Northern Virginia. After a while we came up with the cavalry command, they soon decided that we were sailors out of our element and commenced accosting us in nautical terms such as "Ship Ahoy," "Reef your main topsail," "Put you helm to seaward," "Keep your weather eye open," etc. We took it all as we had to take it, good humoredly and passed those rapscallions by. After while we came up with the Washington Artillery in which I had one or more acquaintances, they invited us to join them but told us that Commodore Tucker was ahead with his command, he having been stationed at Drury's Bluff whence he left on the retreat just before we arrived there with the fleet. I concluded to go on and join him. I came up that evening with this command of Commodore Tuckers and fell in with them, and the next day we arrived at Amelia Court House and lay-over for a day. I concocted with Dan Lee a scheme to form an artillery Company and thereupon he undertook to introduce me to General Lee and to make known our plans. About night we sought out General Lee's headquarters and found it in a pine thicket, near the Court House, and upon our arrival there were informed by some of the staff that the General was expected any moment, he was then on the line somewhere, upon which news we concluded to wait and after a short time the General arrived at his tent. An orderly took his horse and upon the suggestion of some of the staff we approached and Dan greeted him, whereupon in a most affectionate manner of an uncle to a nephew he greeted the boy. Told him he was glad to see him there, asked about his mother, some of the other brothers that were in the Army, the whole scene being one of affectionate simplicity such as upon any ordinary occasion may take place between an uncle and nephew. Dan thereupon introduced me and we made known our scheme to form an Artillery Company, that we had these men that were isolated from any command, had been left behind by Captain S and that I was in command of them and asked that we might have guns and horses for the purpose. The General listened very patiently and remarked that it was impossible, that he was already thinking of abandoning some of his artillery and transport wagons for want of horses and forage, and that under other circumstances it might be favorable but as it was it was impossible. We remained at Amelia Court House that night and the next day until perhaps three o'clock and during the day we had verification of what General Lee said about abandoning our Artillery in a tremendous explosion of case arms and guns that had been parked and set fire to which he was unable to move for lack of transportation. We took up the line of march from Amelia Court House, perhaps about three o'clock in the afternoon and Commodore Tuckers command consisting of the Naval brigade was attached to a Division of General Custis Lee's of youths corps. We began to realize in the evening that the Yankees were close aboard of us, although we saw nothing of them, however, about nine or ten o'clock that night we were fired into across a cut of the Richmond & Danville Railroad, as we were marching along side of the road, by Yankee scouts, and several men were killed or wounded. I saw a group of persons standing out as we resumed our march having halted for a little time, not knowing what this fire might portend, and I went to them and met Charles Goldsboro of Maryland whom I recognized as one of the party and he told me that Major Smith had been killed by that fire, and he was in command of the Artillery in the battalion next to our command, whom I had often seen at Drury's Bluff, and a young Remington from Baltimore was killed there about where he was standing. As a strange coincidence I will mention that I was standing in Baltimore on the Corner of Charles Street one day some months after the war closed when a funeral passed by and upon inquiry being made as to whose funeral it was someone informed us that it was the funeral of a young B[P?]enningtonT21 of the Confederate Army who was killed on the retreat from Richmond. I presume that I was standing within a few yards of him when he was killed. We continued to march all night. The only issue of rations that we had had since leaving Richmond consisted of about a pint of meal and about one fourth of a pound of salt pork, which we got at Amelia Court House the day before. General Lee's supplies, which were to have met him at Amelia Court House had been cut off by the enemy. About daylight the next morning, this being the 6th of April, we marched by a pen of hogs along the side of the road and some of us in almost famished condition killed several of them and divided them among the men. Pretty soon afterward I was ordered to take some men and go foraging on our flanks and see if we could find any cattle that might be slaughtered and soon came across several forlorn looking quadrupeds which were driven in and pretty soon after the command halted and a delay was made to slaughter the animals. Fires were started and we hoped for a little rest and a chance for something to eat. I dropped about in my tracks and fell asleep having been on rather more active duties than the others, and my comrads undertook to call me when the cooking was done. I had barely closed my eyes it seemed to me when I was awakened by a stir with the announcement that the Yankees were upon us and we were ordered to fall in. We hurried down the road to Sailor's Creek and formed in a skirt of woods to the left of the road. Here we threw out skirmishers and I had charge of the skirmishers of our command. We went forward to the edge of the woods from which I could see Sheridan's Cavalry under Custer and charged across a field where they were met by Pickett's Division and went back with empty saddles and riderless horses. Very soon an order came to withdraw the skirmishers and we took another position along the road, but the Yankees in the battle of field artillery commenced firing upon us from where Sheridan's command had been engaged and very soon got our range with great accuracy. We then moved on down the road and across Sailor's Creek and up the hill into a skirt of woods into which we filed and changed front to the rear, facing the creek and the hill opposite. Our position was then just in the rear of where Picketts Division was fighting the cavalry. Soon after we were confronted by a world of Yankees which proved to be the Sixth Corps and they opened upon us with artillery in the woods getting our range with exactness. Our skirmishers were fighting without any fronting all along the line. The artillery command of Major Smith was formed just across a ravine to our left. We continued under this fire for sometime with skirmishers in front holding the line retired upon the main body. There I think I saw Major Stapleton Crutchfield killed. I had known him at the beginning of the war? I saw him in front of our line retreating with the skirmishers and saw him apparently stumble and fall forward. My surmise at the time was that he had caught his foot on a root and stumbled and I paid no further attention to it, but afterwards heard that he was killed in that battle and I have always felt convinced that I saw him fall. About this time a shell burst between the feet of the second man on my right killing him and the man next to me. This produced some confusion in the ranks and the line fell back a few feet and redressed. I observed then that the leaves had been ignited by the shells and one of the men whom I had seen go up three or four feet at the explosion seemed to be crawling and trying to drag himself out of the fire. I stepped forward to help these two men out of the burning leaves and several men came to my assistance and I endeavored to pick up one of them and as I put one arm around his neck and the other in his crotch I felt his warm blood on my arm as he gave an exclamation of pain as I laid him down. The other men carried him to the rear, of course he died. He was a sailor. I don't know the names of either of them but belonged I believe to the old crew of the Patrick Henry and had come with Commodore Tucker from Jamestown to Drury's Bluff. About this time we were ordered to move across the ravine and take a new position to our left which was formerly held by the artillery battalion. As we moved across I saw the Confederate Flag for the last time in battle, and a glorious sight it was that will remain with me as long as I live. That command had been broken and scattered, there was one man holding the flag and calling upon his comrades to rally around it. It was tattered and battle worn and just then a shell from the artillery across the creek burst immediately above it. It is a picture I would like to see painted. We were then marched back to our original position and there standing in line of battle soon after the yankees commenced to run in on us. They were taken as they came as prisoners. One officer rode up on a fine bay horse to within a few yards of our line when several hundred muskets were leveled at him and but for the intervention of our officers he would have been riddled in a second. He knew that he had made a mistake, he thought we had surrendered: but we let him escape and he laid down on his horse and went flying back the other way. He may have several calls before his final one to leave here but he will never have another as close as that one until he hands in his checks. If he realizes what his danger was and how he was permitted to live he would recognize that there was generosity at least in the hearts of some of the rebels. It soon became apparent that everything was against us and thereupon Commodore Tucker ordered the white flag to be hoisted and we surrendered: but in line of battle, every man in his place and amidst bemoaning and tears we handed in our swords. I surrendered to a man belonging to the Sixth Maryland Cavalry. As I understand his name was W D Abercrombie from Baltimore. He claimed to be a Captain on General Warren Kaufers staff. I think that he was acting as a temporary aide or perhaps curier. I have understood that he was a sort of a vagabond, never very reliable and that he afterwards abandoned his family and went to the bad. I gave him my sword, it was a Confederate States Naval Sword made in England. There were but few of them made. It had a shark skin hilt and heavily gilded appointments. When I surrendered I requested this Captain to keep my sword and especially my pistol and let me have them back sometimes, which he promised faithfully he would do. The pistol belonged to my Brother William who was killed and hence its value to me and my desire to preserve it. Long after the War I endeavored to trace Abercrombie and it was with the result that he was irresponsible and with the likelihood that he had disposed of both the sword and pistol to meet some irresponsible desire. I never expect to hear from them again though they may have fallen into the hands of some generous Federal soldier who would have, upon proper identification, restored them to me or some member of the family.
From where we surrendered we were marched back across Sailor's Creek, and there an occurrence took place about dark which was both painful and amusing. As we were being marched between cordons of Yankees as prisoners an officer with a Captain's insignia came up to me and remarked in a confidential tone that he wondered why General Custis Lee and General Yuille had not been captured that both of them were in the field. I had received the impression about the time that he spoke to me that he was under the impression that I was a Yankee, in as much as I wore a shoulder strap and as a matter of fact that he had mistaken me. I was consequently indignant at such a question coming from a man wearing a Confederate uniform: "You are a Confederate Officer are you not", his reply was, "yes, don't you see the bars on my collar. Whereupon, being somewhat given to rough language I said to him "and you are a damned traitor besides". Such indignation as he expressed at this I have rarely seen, he grew white, and said "Hell what does this mean that I should be insulted in this way, my family has been true to Virginia for 200 years". I said to him: "I don't care if your family has been true to Virginia for two thousand years you are a damned traitor", he said "I don't understand this" and I said I will explain it to you. You took me for a Yankee and asked me about those officers with a view to betraying them and hence what I said. He said, "My name is Harrison", I said "My name is Trigg" He said "I will hold you accountable for this", to which I endeavored to make a suitable reply, thereupon he paused a moment and said "Mr Trigg you are a true man, I see it all now, I did take you for a Yankee at first, but before I asked you that question I changed my mind and saw that you were a Confederate Naval Officer, and therefore asked you that question". Whereupon I made every apology, and at that point in our conversation a man approached who was none other than Capt John W Barr of Abingdon, came forth and introduced us, we were afterwards in prison together and I have learned that he was one of the sturdiest, truest and manliest of Confederate soldiers. I never met him after we got out of prison. I am not sure to which of the Harrison family he belonged and unfortunately do not recall his first name, at any rate my apology was as the occasion deserved and I feel that my hasty expression found no lodgment with him after the explanations were made. We were then marched back over the field we had fought on and on to the top of the hill over the field where Picket's Division had confronted Custer, and there we were coralled, about six thousand having been captured, in a bull pen, and next morning Custer's command with a mounted band marched by displaying forty of our battle flags which was a sad sight to that body of men in the bull pen for they were of the truest of the true and would have been with Lee at Appomatox, or Johnston at Charlotte or Kirby Smith beyond the Mississippi, and would have died in the last ditch, being of the material that was ready to hold out to the end. We were marched back to Burkesville and on to Petersburg on the Southern Railroad sometimes attaching upon the fields over which some of the captured at come by five forks and Petersburg and thence to City Point and by boat to Washington, where we were marched up Pennsylvania Avenue and subjected to the gaze of vulgar shop keepers and bummers and back to the old capitol prison, where we were on the night of the 14th of April 1865 when President Lincoln was assassinated. We heard of it next morning and were apprized of it by the tolling of bells and booming of cannon and the draping of houses with mourning. It was in a day or two that we were taken from old Capitol Prison over the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to Baltimore and thence over the Pennsylvania to Johnson Island off Sandusky. In Baltimore as we marched through under guard ragged and weary and dirty we could feel the sympathy in the atmosphere, and that there was help at hand if it only dared to manifest itself. The women showed it, the men showed it and the very atmosphere was charged with it, and whilst we went through two states each furnished perhaps as many or more union soldiers to the cause than any other two states, Pennsylvania and Ohio, on the route I have always held it to the credit and been proud of the spirit of the American people that we as prisoners received not one word of contempt or disrespect or jeer from any living soul. This reminds me that one day I was standing on the corner of Ninth Street and Main in Richmond when a number of prisoners were brought in who had been captured by our people and among them were a number of Pennsylvania Buck Tails, my impression is that they were captured in one of the battles on the Weldon road. As they were marched up the street of course numbers of people assembled and among them a lot of hoodlums, to witness the sight, some of them commenced to jeer at these prisoners, thereupon a tall, handsome Cavalryman held up his hand and announced that nobody but a coward would insult a prisoner and commanded that it be stopped, that he had been a prisoner and that no one should insult one in his presence. At once his sentiment was approved and applauded and the insult stopped, so we may conclude that there was chivalry on both sides. We were greeted upon our entrance to the prison at Johnson's Island with a cry of fresh fish from the old stagers who had been in there for sometime. I found quarters in block No. 10. There were perhaps several thousand prisoners there at the time. I remained in prison until the July following, 1865. From what I learned from the other and older prisoners the rigors of prison life had perhaps been relaxed and ameliorated by the time I got there. The weather was pleasant, but the fare was rough, consisting of salt beef and pork and beans, which we had to cook ourselves. We had no recreation except to walk about the grounds at certain hours, being occasionally detailed for cleaning up camp. I was released after the war was over, all of us being required to take the oath of allegiance. Being of the regulars and having resigned from the old service, I among other officers was held for sometime after I would otherwise have been held. Upon being released transportation was furnished as far as Baltimore and there I made an engagement to ship on a Merchantman for South America, not knowing what the state of affairs would be in this country for some time to come, and being without occupation or employment, not knowing what to do or what to turn to. I concluded to come down home and see my people, as I had time to do so before the ship should sail in about two weeks. The vessel I engaged on was the Bark Adelaide which was to sail from Baltimore to Rio Genero loaded with flour and bring back a cargo of coffee, the voyage being about three months. In the meantime I made my way to Richmond as best I could, and from there out home where I staid about a week. When I started back to Baltimore, going horseback from Abingdon to Christiansburg, I found the country all desolated by the result of the War, nobody doing anything nor having settled occupation or plans, the entire country being desolated as the result of the War. I got back to Baltimore and joined the ship upon her sailing and made the voyage to Rio and back. After discharge from the ship being in a state of uncertainty, I was one day on Baltimore Street in Baltimore when I was accosted by an old Naval acquaintance and friend, Edward G Reed, with whom I had been at the Naval Academy and been associated with during the War, in fact he was one of our party at Metz and Orleans, and he and I had been friends since we first met as boys at the Naval Academy. Reed was an enterprising fellow and hailed me with delight and told me that he had been engaged by the Chilian Government to select some companions to go to Chili, which country was then at war with Spain, and to blow up with torpedoes the Spanish vessels that were blocading the ports of that country, and proposed that I should go with him and to that end meet him in New York by a certain day, that in the meantime he would go to Norfolk in search of an Engineer whom I recommended, Elias Hall. I told him that Micou Mason was in town and was attached to a steamer that was to run between Baltimore and Savannah and that we might get him as one of our party, we accordingly went and secured his services to go with us. Neither of us had had any experience with torpedoes and Mason told him that Captain Glacell, formerly of the Confederate Navy, was experienced in that line, and that his home was I believe in Louden or Fairfax County, Virginia, and that he could be engaged to post us in the use, construction and management of torpedoes and accordingly Reed was to see him on this trip. We were promised free transportation to Chili and a deposit of $500.00 in gold in case we wished to return, and a salary of $80.00 per month. This in my then condition was a bonanza, in fact I would have ready to have gone anywhere for it. We met the party in New York at the time appointed and met the Chilian agent, Mr. Vicenna McKenna, who was a man of distinction in Chili and of a refined and old family of that country, with him and some of his companions we were invited to take breakfast at Delmonicos before our departure and about the 11th day of December 1865 we sailed out of New York for Aspenwall on one of the Pacific Mail Steamers bound for Chili. There we crossed the peninsular and after spending some days in Panama on XMas day we took the steamer at Panama bound for Calio where we arrived in due course. There we remained for some days in Lima, when one night it was announced that we should go on board a Chilian steamer which was lying in harbor at Calio. Accordingly Mason and I procured a waterman to row us out to this steamer when we went on board perfect strangers, not knowing where she was bound or when we would get there. She was an indifferent craft of perhaps five to eight hundred tons. We were shown certain bunks that we were to occupy and we found that she was commanded by Captain, afterwards Admiral, Lynch, of the Chilian Navy, who in the subsequent war between Chili and Peru commanded the Chilian forces and led them over the mountains into Peru and achieved great destruction. Captain Lynch spoke English perfectly and was indeed a most courteous and admirable gentleman. The others having arrived we sailed out of Calio Harbor that night and next day met at sea two Peruvian corvets, the names of which I have forgotten, but which had been built for the Confederacy at Liverpool and afterwards sold to the Peruvian Government. For some days we sailed down the coast of Peru and Chili touching at one or another of the small ports along the coast. One morning I came on deck and observed Captain Lynch looking intently down the hatchway into the engine room. I saw that something unusual had occurred and then I observed a man's head above the water in the engine room where he was seemingly engaged in some work on the ship's bottom. I asked Capt. Lynch the cause of the disturbance and he told me that a plate had become loose on the bottom and that they were endeavoring to fix it but that he didn't believe they could succeed, but said that we were within about fifteen miles of a small Chilian Port called Pichalanque, for which he was headed and that he believed that he could make it before she should sink. Soon after we entered this little harbor of Blight, it was a beautiful landlocked little Bay, in the meantime the water gaining rapidly upon us and coming higher and higher and about the time we were enabled to beach her it reached the fires in the engine room and we had barely time to escape sinking in deep water. Here we all went ashore and after a meal at a house near the beach, horses for the party were procured and we started over the mountains under the leadership of a Chilian guide. Our party then consisted of Reed, Hall, Mason and myself and a man named Cilley who was Chilean Agent, and a gun founder, an Englishman, whom Cilley had procured to go to Chili with a view to founding and constructing guns and cannon. This individual was a pretty timid creature and seemed to have a horror of being lost on the way. We amused ourselves and passed away the time by riding far ahead of him and listening to his wails as he thought he was left behind. This we continued from time to time until some of the party intervened, more merciful than the others, and put an end to the fun. We came about mid-night, or afterwards, upon a little town and there we struck out for a public house and after some effort succeeded in awakening the landlord upon whose appearance we took posession of the place and proceeded to find rooms wherever we might. I saw a bed, or rather a frame with a hide stretched on it, as they have it in that country, upon which I at once dropped down in an exhausted condition and by the time I struck it I think I must have been asleep. The next thing I knew was far into the next day when I awoke in the full light of a Southern sun. We hustled for breakfast, but it was a miserable place. During the day the stage made its appearance, something on the order of our old line stage coach, which Cilley had procured, upon which we took passage for the trip across the mountains to the railroad between Calio and Santiago. We found the road in excellent condition. Going across a mountain upwards of eight thousand feet I saw a graded road which wound about its sides for miles, very much better than any we had been used to in this country. Reaching the railroad we took passage for Santiago and there we found what was to me one of the most delightful cities, quiet and picturesque, I have ever seen. The scenery along the route was surpassingly grand. The hotel in Santiago was passingly good and comfortable. Here we became acquainted with Mr Meigs an American of great ability and foresight, who had gone to that country and had constructed the railroad over which we had come from Valparaiso to Santiago and at that time had realized an immense fortune. He was at that time erecting a residence of great elegance and taste, the whole having been constructed in this country and shipped to Chili. His grounds were beautiful and highly ornamented. He treated me with the greatest consideration and courtesy upon this and occasions afterwards. He offered us any service in his power to forward our interests or schemes. After remaining in Santiago a short time we went to Valparaiso to take in the situation in reference to the blocade of that port by the Spanish fleet, and there we concluded to construct the torpedoes, which was to be under the supervision and direction of Hall the engineer, who was a man of considerable attainments in his profession, and we procured a boat, crude and insufficient to be sure but the best we could get, which we concluded to fit out as a torpedo boat and clad her with iron. In this we were engaged for some weeks and in the meantime vibrating between Valparaiso and Santiago. I have often regretted since that I didn't take more interest and think more seriously of settling permanently and remaining in Chili, where I am sure opportunities of advancement afforded at that time. I was young and to a degree frivilous and I think perhaps let golden chances pass. We remained in Chili for some months and completed the torpedo boats and announced ourselves ready to make a movement and attempt the destruction of one of the Spanish vessels, which was lying off the harbor of Valparaiso, but we were deterred and prevented by the Government owing to diplomatic reasons of which we knew nothing. We remained for sometime and in the meantime had been hearing of growing opportunities that presented themselves from employment in the service in Peru and some of the party had become restive and dissatisfied and wanted to return, some to Peru and some home. This resulted in our throwing up our engagement. We concluding to go and seek service with Peru. In the meantime I had been offered a commission as Lieutenant in the Chilian Navy, which I declined as I was fearful it might result in my having to give up my citizenship in the United States. We accordingly pulled out and went to Peru, where we found an American can secure a contract of considerable magnitude for constructing torpedo boats at Calio and for putting down torpedoes in that harbor. We commenced negotiations with the Peruvian Government and finally the Spanish fleet having bombarded Valparaiso was reported as coming up the Coast of Peru with a view to bombarding Calio. Thereupon we were employed to place torpedoes in the harbor of Calio and succeeded in getting an electric battery and wire with which to discharge the torpedo. On the morning that the Spanish fleet made its appearance in Calio Harbor we placed and anchored a number of torpedoes, consisting of barrels of powder connected with this electric battery. Within a short time the bombardment of Calio was commenced by the Spaniards. I with Reed was located with a view to manipulating this electric battery and consequently was in Calio and had to be at the time of the bombardment. I had been notified by a Peruvian officer, a captain, to come to a battery which he commanded, and in which there was a thirteen inch Blakely English gun, with a promise that I might handle the gun if I came there. The bombardment then commenced, the Spanish ships consisting of an iron clad, Numancea, then a modern type, two or three frigates of perhaps fifty guns each and several smaller vessels, steaming around the harbor in front of the battery and delivering broadsides as they passed. The beach upon which the shore guns were erected was of shingle rock from the size of ones head down to a partridge egg, the consequence was that when the shots from the fleet would strike in this shingle they would be thrown up and over into the batteries along the beach by the bucket full, thus wounding many men at these batteries. The gun to which I had engaged to go was one of these batteries surrounded by sand bags, the rest of the battery consisting of antiquated old bell mouthed cannon, perhaps twelve or eighteen pounders, that could do little execution at best. Another English gun of similar character and make to the one that I was going to was mounted and encased in a turret some distance below, and around it without a magazine they had the amunition exposed so that a shot coming in a casemate from the fleet ignited and exploded one of the shells of this gun and thus blew up the casemate, scattering destruction and death to all in the immediate vicinity. Among them was the Secretary of War, Senor Galvez. As soon as I got through with my work in endeavoring to explode the torpedoes with the electric battery, and I have never been entirely satisfied whether they exploded or not, I started to meet my engagement. As I went into the battery where the gun was situated I met those who had been in the vicinity of the explosion some of them wounded and terribly burned and their clothing torn and burnt coming through from the other direction. About that time a broad-side was delivered from one of the vessels and it looked pretty much as if a flock of black birds were lighting in that battery. The men at the guns were excited and enthusiastic and brave, but without any skill apparently in handling the guns. I went to the place appointed and found that my friend who had been in command had been wounded and carried off. It was no comfortable place to be in. I saw the gun being handled by a number of men and under excitement and to whom I was a stranger. I therefore, contented myself with leaning on a sand bag parapet a little in the rear of the gun to watch their proceedings. About that time I saw a shell coming from one of the vessels and the gun [men] all lay down. I fortunately did so too and about that time a shell struck, I believe a center shot, where I was leaning on the sand bag passed over me and rechashayed [sic] off. If I had been leaning where I had been formerly I would have been torn into pieces. I saw that my services there would not be availing for anything apparently useless and considering that I had saved my reputation I walked out of the battery and back to a place less exposed to watch the battle. After the battle was over the fleet drew off under the lee of an island, I believe called Santa Rosa, at the mouth of the harbor and laid there for several days. The man who contracted for the torpedo boats as yet accomplished nothing and had done nothing and he seemed to think that had to do something to save his reputation and perhaps his contract. He came to mee [sic, though probably a transcibers typo] and asked if I would go out in one of the boats with him and endeavor to blow up one of the ships with a torpedo. I was not as considerate of grave questions then as I am now and very foolishly consented to do so provided he would give the command of the boat to my friend and companion Reed, and that he would handle the torpedo which was a Cushing torpedo similar to that with which the Confederate iron clad Albemarle was blown up by Lieut. Cushing during the War. This he consented to and therupon [sic] one night we went on this expedition. We got into the immediate vicinity of the Spanish fleet and thereupon [sic] it being up to him to handle his torpedo and get it into position for explosion the tackling by which it was to be rigged out became entangled in some way, or he claimed it to be, and was unable to extricate it. We were in no comfortable position as we were liable at any time to be discovered by the Guard boat of the fleet or fired upon by one of the ships and thereupon after a short consultation, very short, we concluded to put about and go back to the wharf, which we did. I walked up to Lima that night, seven miles, and after remaining there for sometime, the war being practically ended, and having no immediate employment in the country concluded to come back to the United States, which I did. Taking a steamer at Calio I came to Panama and thence to Aspenwall, a Mr Nelson, Superintendent of the Railroad having given me a pass across the isthmus. I would like to meet him or some of his people to return this courtesy, but doubt if I ever shall or if indeed it is known to any except myself, there are some to whom I have told it. At Aspenwall I was pretty low in finances, in fact strapped, and a steamer that sailed from there having left I concluded to look for employment and applied to the authorities of the isthmus railroad to that end, but finding none I observed the American flag flying from the mast of a brig, thereupon I sought out the Captain. She was the brig Randolph from Boston which had come to Panama loaded with coal, and was bound for Swan Island, to take in a load of phosphate which was found on that island in the Carribean [sic] sea. Finding her Captain a Vermonter, Captain Percy, I made known to him that I wanted to ship with him. He said that he would like to ship a man as cook and asked me if I could fill the bill. I told him I didn't know but I would try, my object being to get out of that hole, I was willing to ship as most anything, and thereupon I went aboard and took this service. I knocked about the ship until she sailed shortly and after having dropped out a way from the wharf and put to sea I assumed the duties of the galley and I prepared them a meal in my way. I had never seen one like it before, nor heard of another since. I only got to that one meal which satisfied the crew from the Captain down and thereupon he concluded that I had better exchange places with the Second Mate who was a German and who was something of a cook, and this put things to rights again. In due time after several days sail we made Swan Island and anchored. By that time a stowaway on board, a Peruvian, had been taken down with a violent fever, malaria I presumed Shagreas fever a very deadly fever engendered on the Isthmus of Panama, and I was about the only man on board who could handle the medicine chest and the little dispensary that goes with it and I administered to him the best way I could out of my ignorance and in a few days he died. We buried him in the sand on the beach at Swan Island. One after another of the crew was taken down in the same way, when fortunately a man came on board who claimed to have been a doctor in the Confederate Army, I have forgotten his name, he claimed to have been with General W H F Lee. I judge that he might have been a Hospital steward, or of about that class, he was barefooted, commanding hands in the phosphate mine which was being run by a New York Company. He came on board and arrangements were made to take the men on shore and put them in a house which the authorities of the mines proposed to knock up for the occasion. All hands were taken on shore except the Captain and myself who were the only remaining ones able to go about our duties, when one evening late I was taken down with a terrible chill and fever. I went to my bunk and pretty soon after I heard a boat come along side and someone came on deck, whom the Captain greeted as Captain Young and brought him down into the Cabin adjoining my bunk. I immediately thought that I recognized the man's voice as that of the Second Mate of the Bark Clifton which was a Baltimore bark that lay at the wharf in Rio when I was there before the mast in the Bark Adelaide, and I had met Young there in the evenings when we were discharging and receiving our cargo and used to talk to him in the evenings after work hours, having become acquainted with him through Clarence Carey who had sailed on that ship in the same way I had from Baltimore. Hearing his name called Young I became convinced that he was the same man and therupon [sic] spoke to him from my bunk and asked if he had ever sailed on the Bark Clifton. He was much astonished of course, for then we were in a remote part of the world and in a place that was perhaps not visited by three ships a year upon an average, and it was thousands of miles away from where I had met him a year or more before and then only as a casual acquaintance. Asking me who I was I told him and thereupon he recognized me. He was then in a command of a little schooner from Baltimore after a cargo of phosphate his vessel carrying three or four men as her crew. Having recognized me he came next morning with his boat and took me ashore. I was very low with the fever for sometime and a few days afterwards he sailed away and I have never seen him since. He knew however some of my acquaintances in Baltimore and when he got back he reported me as dead, so I understood afterwards, and told a very straight tale as to what ship I was on etc. After remaining on the island until I and the crew had recuperated sufficiently to take in the cargo and work ship, during which time we feasted royally upon turtle steaks and soup, we sailed for Boston, where upon arrival the Captain requested me to stay by the ship with him until he could discharge his cargo at Weymouth, a little place where chemical works were established in the vicinity of Boston Harbor, and perhaps the place, though I don't know it where Miles Standish figured and came in contact with the Indians some two hundred years before. Whilst lying here imagine my surprise upon one day receiving a telegram from New Port from Chris Foute, my old companion and friend, announcing that he was to be married at New Port at once and asking me to come on and be one of his attendants. You can imagine from my condition as it was then what a figure I would have cut in New Port society about that time. Having ended my engagement with the ship I went to New York not knowing what might turn up and I concluded that I would come on home. In New York I ran across Mrs Kearney and her daughters and we then came down to Virginia, they going to the home of Mr Julian Harrison on James River, he having married a niece of Mrs Kearney's, Miss Lily Johnston. I came on home and there Judge John A Campbell, my lifelong friend and Uncle, and one of the noblest men I ever knew, proposed that I should study law with him and go to his home at Hall's Bottom. This I did. I read pretty faithfully for some months in Blackstone and thereupon I was offered a position to go to Arkansas upon a small salary and good employment. I went there to Clarendon in Monroe County on White River in 1867 and became Deputy Clerk under Parker C Ewing. The country was then in a state of disruption almost to anarchy, carpet bagism was rampant and in the saddle. Military Government was in vogue in the Southern states, there was a premium on scalawagism and everything was in a state of social and political chaos. I had been in Arkansas some moths [months], when with little legal knowledge or success I succeeded in getting a license to practice law and soon afterwards was appointed to the position of County Attorney. I remained in Arkansas until January 1869 when Judge John W Johnston having proposed to me to come back to Virginia and go into partnership with him, and I having proposed a partnership with his daughter, I concluded to accept the proposition. The fact is this is the pole that I had been in search of and around which I had been vibrating from different parts of the world for many years. I came to Virginia and entered into partnership with Judge Johnston in 1869. He had a large and important practice, perhaps the leading practice in this section of the country. He was indeed one of the most profound and learned lawyers I have ever come in contact with and one of the best men, highest ideals and transactions that I have ever known. Judge Johnston had been so fortunate as to have had his disabilities removed and was one of the few men of prominence and standing in the State who was eligible for office. He was appointed Circuit Judge to this the then 16th Judicial Circuit which embraced the counties of Washington, Scott, Lee, Wise, Buchanan, Russell, Taswell, Bland and Wythe. He only served in the judgship [sic] a short while when upon the re-admission of Virginia under the reconstruction laws to the Union, he was then elected to the United States Senate where he continued by successive elections until 1883, when he was defeated under the Mahone regime, a readjustment move in this state, the most pernicious that ever afflicted us, save that of reconstruction days. While in active practice Judge Johnston was engaged in the most important litigation especially in the counties of Wythe, Smith, Washington and Taswell, and in the Court of Appeals from this section. He was in no sense an orator but for clearness of statement and exact comprehension of the facts of a case and the Law applicable thereto I have never seen his superior. Soon after his defeat to the Senate and in about the year 1883 he removed to Richmond, I have thought the main motive inspiring this move was a desire to be near his son Dr. George Ben Johnston, who was a young man and had located there and in whom he had great pride and justly so. It was however from a material and business standpoint on his part a disastrous move, severing as it did his connection with his former business associates when he could readily have resumed a leading practice in the section of the country where he was known and with which he had been associated all his life. From the time I entered partnership with Judge Johnston, in 1869, I have continued to practice Law at Abingdon from that time until this. I served one term in the Virginia Legislature in 1883-84. I have never been connected with politics except locally. In 1872, January 9th, I married the second daughter of Judge Johnston Louisa Bowen and there were born of this marriage nine children, Nannie Greenway, John Warfield Johnston, Daniel, Nicketti Floyd, Miriam Hartford, Evelyn Byrd, George Ben, Louisa Smith and Anna Munford.
My mother as you know was Anna Munford Tompkins daughter of Alexander Tompkins of Lynchburg, Virginia, who was for many years Cashier of the Farmer's Bank of Virginia at that place. My mother's mother was Elizabeth Byrd daughter of Col Francis Otway Byrd, the son of Col William Byrd of Westover, and Anna Ursula Munford, the mother of Francis Otway Byrd was Elizabeth Carter of Shirleigh. My second marriage was on December 25th 1899 to Margaret Ann O'Donoghue.
The [grand]mother of my children was Nicketti Floyd, daughter of Governor John Floyd and her brothers were Governor John Floyd, George B Floyd, Dr William Floyd and her sisters were Mrs Letitia Lewis of Sweet Springs, Monroe Co. West Virginia, and Mrs Lavaleete Holmes, wife of Proffessor [sic] George Frederick Holmes of the University of Virginia. Mrs. Johnston's grandfather was John Floyd who went to Kentucky in 1773; his journal kept upon that expedition is extant and most interesting. His wife was Jean Buchanan, he was afterwards killed by the Indians and her father Governor Floyd I understand was a posthumous child.
Notes. Some of these are possibly transcription errors.