The ravages of the guerrillas on that occasion were not extensive. They carried off a few bolts of cloth and some smaller articles, after drinking the whisky I had set out for their entertainment. The negroes had carefully concealed the balance of the goods in places where a white man would have much trouble in finding them. In the garden there was a row of bee-hives, whose occupants manifested much dislike for all white men, irrespective of their political sentiments. Two unused hives were filled with the most valuable articles on our invoice, and placed at the ends of this row. In a clump of weeds under the bench on which the hives stood, the negroes secreted several rolls of cloth and a quantity of shoes. More shoes and more cloth were concealed in a hen-house, under a series of nests where several innocent hens were “sitting.” Crockery was placed among the rose-bushes and tomato-vines in the garden; barrels of sugar were piled with empty barrels of great age; and two barrels of molasses had been neatly buried in a freshly-ploughed potato-field. Obscure corners in stables and sheds were turned into hiding-places, and the cunning of the negro was well evinced by the successful concealment of many bulky articles.
It was about two o’clock in the afternoon when I arrived at the plantation. I immediately recommenced the issue of goods, which was suspended so hastily three days before. From two o’clock until dark the overseer and myself were busily engaged, and distributed about two-thirds of our remaining stock. Night came. We suspended the distribution and indulged in supper. After giving the overseer directions for the morrow, I recollected an invitation to spend the night at the house of a friend, three miles away, on the road to Natchez.
I ordered my horse, and in a few moments the animal was ready, at the door. I told the overseer where I was going, and bade him good-night.
“Where are you going, Mr. K——?” said the negro who had brought out the horse, as he delivered the bridle into my hands.
“If any one calls to see me,” said I, “you can say I have gone to Natchez.”
With that I touched a spur to my horse and darted off rapidly toward my friend’s house. A half-dozen negroes had gathered to assist in saddling and holding the horse. As I sprang into the saddle I heard one of them say:
“I don’t see why Mr. K—— starts off to Natchez at this time of night.”
Another negro explained the matter, but I did not hear the explanation. If he gave a satisfactory reason, I think he did better than I could have done.
Immediately after my departure the overseer went to bed. He had been in bed about fifteen minutes when he heard a trampling of horses’ feet around the house. A moment later there was a loud call for the door to be opened. Before the overseer could comply with the request, the door was broken in. A dozen men crowded into the house, demanding that a light be struck instantly. As the match gave its first flash of light, one of the visitors said: