Before that campaign was ended, General Fremont’s staff acquired some knowledge of horsemanship.
At Warsaw the party of journalists passed several waiting days, and domiciled themselves in the house of a widow who had one pretty daughter. Our natural bashfulness was our great hinderance, so that it was a day or two before we made the acquaintance of the younger of the women. One evening she invited a young lady friend to visit her, and obliged us with introductions. The ladies persistently turned the conversation upon the Rebellion, and gave us the benefit of their views. Our young hostess, desiring to say something complimentary, declared she did not dislike the Yankees, but despised the Dutch and the Black Republicans.”
“Do you dislike the Black Republicans very much?” said the Tribune correspondent.
“Oh! yes; I hate them. I wish they were all dead.”
“Well,” was the quiet response, “we are Black Republicans. I am the blackest of them all.”
The fair Secessionist was much confused, and for fully a minute remained silent. Then she said—
“I must confess I did not fully understand what Black Republicans were. I never saw any before.”
During the evening she was quite courteous, though persistent in declaring her sentiments. Her companion launched the most bitter invective at every thing identified with the Union cause, and made some horrid wishes about General Fremont and his army. A more vituperative female Rebel I have never seen. She was as pretty as she was disloyal, and was, evidently, fully aware of it.
A few months later, I learned that both these young ladies had become the wives of United States officers, and were complimenting, in high terms, the bravery and patriotism of the soldiers they had so recently despised.
The majority of the inhabitants of Warsaw were disloyal, and had little hesitation in declaring their sentiments. Most of the young men were in the Rebel army or preparing to go there. A careful search of several warehouses revealed extensive stores of powder, salt, shoes, and other military supplies. Some of these articles were found in a cave a few miles from Warsaw, their locality being made known by a negro who was present at their concealment.
Warsaw boasted a newspaper establishment, but the proprietor and editor of the weekly sheet had joined his fortunes to those of General Price. Two years before the time of our visit, this editor was a member of the State Legislature, and made an earnest effort to secure the expulsion of the reporter of The Missouri Democrat, on account of the radical tone of that paper. He was unsuccessful, but the aggrieved individual did not forgive him.
When our army entered Warsaw this reporter held a position on the staff of the general commanding. Not finding his old adversary, he contented himself with taking possession of the printing-office, and “confiscating” whatever was needed for the use of head-quarters.