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Chapter 60

THE RAIDERS REAPPEAR ON THE SCENE--THE ATTEMPT TO ASSASSINATE THOSE WHO
WERE CONCERNED IN THE EXECUTION--A COUPLE OF LIVELY FIGHTS, IN WHICH THE
RAIDERS ARE DEFEATED--HOLDING AN ELECTION.

Our old antagonists--the Raiders--were present in strong force in Millen.
Like ourselves, they had imagined the departure from Andersonville was
for exchange, and their relations to the Rebels were such that they were
all given a chance to go with the first squads. A number had been
allowed to go with the sailors on the Special Naval Exchange from
Savannah, in the place of sailors and marines who had died. On the way
to Charleston a fight had taken place between them and the real sailors,
during which one of their number--a curly-headed Irishman named Dailey,
who was in such high favor with the Rebels that he was given the place of
driving the ration wagon that came in the North Side at Andersonville
--was killed, and thrown under the wheels of the moving train, which passed
over him.

After things began to settle into shape at Millen, they seemed to believe
that they were in such ascendancy as to numbers and organization that
they could put into execution their schemes of vengeance against those of
us who had been active participants in the execution of their
confederates at Andersonville.

After some little preliminaries they settled upon Corporal "Wat" Payne,
of my company, as their first victim. The reader will remember Payne as
one of the two Corporals who pulled the trigger to the scaffold at the
time of the execution.

Payne was a very good man physically, and was yet in fair condition.
The Raiders came up one day with their best man--Pete Donnelly--and
provoked a fight, intending, in the course of it, to kill Payne. We,
who knew Payee, felt reasonably confident of his ability to handle even
so redoubtable a pugilist as Donnelly, and we gathered together a little
squad of our friends to see fair play.

The fight began after the usual amount of bad talk on both sides, and we
were pleased to see our man slowly get the better of the New York
plug-ugly. After several sharp rounds they closed, and still Payne was
ahead, but in an evil moment he spied a pine knot at his feet, which he
thought he could reach, and end the fight by cracking Donnelly's head
with it. Donnelly took instant advantage of the movement to get it,
threw Payne heavily, and fell upon him. His crowd rushed in to finish
our man by clubbing him over the head. We sailed in to prevent this,
and after a rattling exchange of blows all around, succeeded in getting
Payne away.

The issue of the fight seemed rather against us, however, and the Raiders
were much emboldened. Payne kept close to his crowd after that, and as
we had shown such an entire willingness to stand by him, the Raiders
--with their accustomed prudence when real fighting was involved--did not
attempt to molest him farther, though they talked very savagely.

A few days after this Sergeant Goody and Corporal Ned Carrigan, both of
our battalion, came in. I must ask the reader to again recall the fact
that Sergeant Goody was one of the six hangmen who put the meal-sacks
over the heads, and the ropes around the necks of the condemned.
Corporal Carrigan was the gigantic prize fighter, who was universally
acknowledged to be the best man physically among the whole thirty-four
thousand in Andersonville. The Raiders knew that Goody had come in
before we of his own battalion did. They resolved to kill him then and
there, and in broad daylight. He had secured in some way a shelter tent,
and was inside of it fixing it up. The Raider crowd, headed by Pete
Donnelly, and Dick Allen, went up to his tent and one of them called to
him:

"Sergeant, come out; I want to see you."

Goody, supposing it was one of us, came crawling out on his hands and
knees. As he did so their heavy clubs crashed down upon his head.
He was neither killed nor stunned, as they had reason to expect.
He succeeded in rising to his feet, and breaking through the crowd of
assassins. He dashed down the side of the hill, hotly pursued by them.
Coming to the Creek, he leaped it in his excitement, but his pursuers
could not, and were checked. One of our battalion boys, who saw and
comprehended the whole affair, ran over to us, shouting:

"Turn out! turn out, for God's sake! the Raiders are killing Goody!"

We snatched up our clubs and started after the Raiders, but before we
could reach them, Ned Carrigan, who also comprehended what the trouble
was, had run to the side of Goody, armed with a terrible looking club.
The sight of Ned, and the demonstration that he was thoroughly aroused,
was enough for the Raider crew, and they abandoned the field hastily.
We did not feel ourselves strong enough to follow them on to their own
dung hill, and try conclusions with them, but we determined to report the
matter to the Rebel Commandant, from whom we had reason to believe we
could expect assistance. We were right. He sent in a squad of guards,
arrested Dick Allen, Pete Donnelly, and several other ringleaders, took
them out and put them in the stocks in such a manner that they were
compelled to lie upon their stomachs. A shallow tin vessel containing
water was placed under their faces to furnish them drink.

They staid there a day and night, and when released, joined the Rebel
Army, entering the artillery company that manned the guns in the fort
covering the prison. I used to imagine with what zeal they would send us
over; a round of shell or grape if they could get anything like an
excuse.

This gave us good riddance--of our dangerous enemies, and we had little
further trouble with any of them.

The depression in the temperature made me very sensible of the
deficiencies in my wardrobe. Unshod feet, a shirt like a fishing net,
and pantaloons as well ventilated as a paling fence might do very well
for the broiling sun at Andersonville and Savannah, but now, with the
thermometer nightly dipping a little nearer the frost line, it became
unpleasantly evident that as garments their office was purely
perfunctory; one might say ornamental simply, if he wanted to be very
sarcastic. They were worn solely to afford convenient quarters for
multitudes of lice, and in deference to the prejudice which has existed
since the Fall of Man against our mingling with our fellow creatures in
the attire provided us by Nature. Had I read Darwin then I should have
expected that my long exposure to the weather would start a fine suit of
fur, in the effort of Nature to adapt, me to my environment. But no
more indications of this appeared than if I had been a hairless dog of
Mexico, suddenly transplanted to more northern latitudes. Providence did
not seem to be in the tempering-the-wind-to-the-shorn-lamb business, as
far as I was concerned. I still retained an almost unconquerable
prejudice against stripping the dead to secure clothes, and so unless
exchange or death came speedily, I was in a bad fix.

One morning about day break, Andrews, who had started to go to another
part of the camp, came slipping back in a state of gleeful excitement.
At first I thought he either had found a tunnel or had heard some good
news about exchange. It was neither. He opened his jacket and handed me
an infantry man's blouse, which he had found in the main street, where it
had dropped out of some fellow's bundle. We did not make any extra
exertion to find the owner. Andrews was in sore need of clothes himself,
but my necessities were so much greater that the generous fellow thought
of my wants first. We examined the garment with as much interest as ever
a belle bestowed on a new dress from Worth's. It was in fair
preservation, but the owner had cut the buttons off to trade to the
guard, doubtless for a few sticks of wood, or a spoonful of salt.
We supplied the place of these with little wooden pins, and I donned the
garment as a shirt and coat and vest, too, for that matter. The best
suit I ever put on never gave me a hundredth part the satisfaction that
this did. Shortly after, I managed to subdue my aversion so far as to
take a good shoe which a one-legged dead man had no farther use for, and
a little later a comrade gave me for the other foot a boot bottom from
which he had cut the top to make a bucket.

...........................

The day of the Presidential election of 1864 approached. The Rebels were
naturally very much interested in the result, as they believed that the
election of McClellan meant compromise and cessation of hostilities,
while the re-election of Lincoln meant prosecution of the War to the
bitter end. The toadying Raiders, who were perpetually hanging around
the gate to get a chance to insinuate themselves into the favor of the
Rebel officers, persuaded them that we were all so bitterly hostile to
our Government for not exchanging us that if we were allowed to vote we
would cast an overwhelming majority in favor of McClellan.

The Rebels thought that this might perhaps be used to advantage as
political capital for their friends in the North. They gave orders that
we might, if we chose, hold an election on the same day of the
Presidential election. They sent in some ballot boxes, and we elected
Judges of the Election.

About noon of that day Captain Bowes, and a crowd of tightbooted,
broad-hatted Rebel officers, strutted in with the peculiar "Ef-yer-don't-
b'lieve--I'm-a-butcher-jest-smell-o'-mebutes" swagger characteristic of
the class. They had come in to see us all voting for McClellan.
Instead, they found the polls surrounded with ticket pedlers shouting:

"Walk right up here now, and get your Unconditional-Union-Abraham-Lincoln
-tickets!"

"Here's your straight-haired prosecution-of-the-war ticket."

"Vote the Lincoln ticket; vote to whip the Rebels, and make peace with
them when they've laid down their arms."

"Don't vote a McClellan ticket and gratify Rebels, everywhere," etc.

The Rebel officers did not find the scene what their fancy painted it,
and turning around they strutted out.

When the votes came to be counted out there were over seven thousand for
Lincoln, and not half that many hundred for McClellan. The latter got
very few votes outside the Raider crowd. The same day a similar election
was held in Florence, with like result. Of course this did not indicate
that there was any such a preponderance of Republicans among us.
It meant simply that the Democratic boys, little as they might have liked
Lincoln, would have voted for him a hundred times rather than do anything
to please the Rebels.

I never heard that the Rebels sent the result North.

John McElroy