It was a measure which the Rebels and their friends opposed in the strongest terms. These persons were anxious to see the Confederacy established, but could not consent to live in its limits. They resorted to every device to evade the order, but were not allowed to remain. Representations of personal and financial inconvenience were of no avail; go they must.
The first exodus took place on the 13th of May. An immense crowd thronged the levee as the boat which was to remove the exiles took its departure. In all there were about thirty persons, half of them ladies. The men were escorted to the boat on foot, but the ladies were brought to the landing in carriages, and treated with every possible courtesy. A strong guard was posted at the landing to preserve order and allow no insult of any kind to the prisoners.
One of the young women ascended to the hurricane roof of the steamer and cheered for the “Confederacy.” As the boat swung into the stream, this lady was joined by two others, and the trio united their sweet voices in singing “Dixie” and the “Bonnie Blue Flag.” There was no cheering or other noisy demonstration at their departure, though there was a little waving of handkerchiefs, and a few tokens of farewell were given. This departure was soon followed by others, until St. Louis was cleared of its most turbulent spirits.
A Hasty Departure.—At Harrisburg.—En route for the Army of the Potomac.—The Battle-Field at Gettysburg.—Appearance of the Cemetery.—Importance of the Position.—The Configuration of Ground.—Traces of Battle.—Round Hill.—General Meade’s Head-Quarters.—Appearance of the Dead.—Through the Forests along the Line.—Retreat and Pursuit of Lee.
While in St. Louis, late in June, 1863, I received the following telegram:—
“NEW YORK, June 28.
“Report at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, at the earliest possible moment.”
Two hours later, I was traveling eastward as fast as an express train could carry me.
The Rebel army, under General Lee, had crossed the Potomac, and was moving toward Harrisburg. The Army of the Potomac was in rapid pursuit. A battle was imminent between Harrisburg and Baltimore.
Waiting a day at Harrisburg, I found the capital of the Keystone State greatly excited. The people were slow to move in their own behalf. Earth-works were being thrown up on the south bank of the Susquehanna, principally by the soldiers from other parts of Pennsylvania and from New York.
When it was first announced that the enemy was approaching, only seventeen men volunteered to form a local defense. I saw no such enthusiasm on the part of the inhabitants as I had witnessed at Cincinnati during the previous autumn. Pennsylvania sent many regiments to the field during the war, and her soldiers gained a fine reputation; but the best friends of the State will doubtless acknowledge that Harrisburg was slow to act when the Rebels made their last great invasion.