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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 268 pages of information about Strange True Stories of Louisiana.
ran by, throwing a shower of shot, and two burning houses made the river clear as day.  One of the batteries has a remarkable gun they call “Whistling Dick,” because of the screeching, whistling sound it gives, and certainly it does sound like a tortured thing.  Added to all this is the indescribable Confederate yell, which is a soul-harrowing sound to hear.  I have gained respect for the mechanism of the human ear, which stands it all without injury.  The streets are seldom quiet at night; even the dragging about of cannon makes a din in these echoing gullies.  The other night we were on the gallery till the last of the eight boats got by.  Next day a friend said to H., “It was a wonder you didn’t have your heads taken off last night.  I passed and saw them stretched over the gallery, and grape-shot were whizzing up the street just on a level with you.”  The double roar of batteries and boats was so great, we never noticed the whizzing.  Yesterday the Cincinnati attempted to go by in daylight, but was disabled and sunk.  It was a pitiful sight; we could not see the finale, though we saw her rendered helpless.

XIII.

PREPARATIONS FOR THE SIEGE.

Vicksburg, May 1st, 1863.—­Ever since we were deprived of our cave, I had been dreading that H. would suggest sending me to the country, where his relatives live.  As he could not leave his position and go also without being conscripted, and as I felt certain an army would get between us, it was no part of my plan to be obedient.  A shell from one of the practicing mortars brought the point to an issue yesterday and settled it.  Sitting at work as usual, listening to the distant sound of bursting shells, apparently aimed at the court-house, there suddenly came a nearer explosion; the house shook, and a tearing sound was followed by terrified screams from the kitchen.  I rushed thither, but met in the hall the cook’s little girl America, bleeding from a wound in the forehead, and fairly dancing with fright and pain, while she uttered fearful yells.  I stopped to examine the wound, and her mother bounded in, her black face ashy from terror.  “Oh!  Miss G., my child is killed and the kitchen tore up.”  Seeing America was too lively to have been killed, I consoled Martha and hastened to the kitchen.  Evidently a shell had exploded just outside, sending three or four pieces through.  When order was restored I endeavored to impress on Martha’s mind the uselessness of such excitement.  Looking round at the close of the lecture, there stood a group of Confederate soldiers laughing heartily at my sermon and the promising audience I had.  They chimed in with a parting chorus: 

“Yes, it’s no use hollerin’, old lady.”

“Oh!  H.,” I exclaimed, as he entered soon after, “America is wounded.”

“That is no news; she has been wounded by traitors long ago.”

“Oh, this is real, living, little, black America.  I am not talking in symbols.  Here are the pieces of shell, the first bolt of the coming siege.”

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