We ceased to record anything further concerning Richmond, although not a fourth part of what Harry narrated was put upon paper. The account was too sickening and the desire to hear Harry’s account of himself too great to admit of further delay; so Harry confined himself to the sufferings and adventures which had marked his own life. Briefly he gave the following facts: “I have been treated bad. One day we were grubbing and master said we didn’t do work enough. ’How came there was no more work done that day?’ said master to me. I told him I did work. In a more stormy manner he ’peated the question. I then spoke up and said: ’Massa, I don’t know what to say.’ At once massa plunged his knife into my neck causing me to stagger. Massa was drunk. He then drove me down to the black folk’s houses (cabins of the slaves). He then got his gun, called the overseer, and told him to get some ropes. While he was gone I said, ’Massa, now you are going to tie me up and cut me all to pieces for nothing. I would just as leave you would take your gun and shoot me down as to tie me up and cut me all to pieces for nothing.’ In a great rage he said ‘go.’ I jumped, and he put up his gun and snapped both barrels at me. He then set his dogs on me, but as I had been in the habit of making much of them, feeding them, &c. they would not follow me, and I kept on straight to the woods. My master and the overseer cotched the horses and tried to run me down, but as the dogs would not follow me they couldn’t make nothing of it. It was the last of August a year ago. The devil was into him, and he flogged and beat four of the slaves, one man and three of the women, and said if he could only get hold of me he wouldn’t strike me, ‘nary-a-lick,’ but would tie me to a tree and empty both barrels into me.
In the woods I lived on nothing, you may say, and something too. I had bread, and roasting ears, and ’taters. I stayed in the hollow of a big poplar tree for seven months; the other part of the time I stayed in a cave. I suffered mighty bad with the cold and for something to eat. Once I got me some charcoal and made me a fire in my tree to warm me, and it liked to killed me, so I had to take the fire out. One time a snake come to the tree, poked its head in the hollow and was coming in, and I took my axe and chopped him in two. It was a poplar leaf moccasin, the poisonest kind of a snake we have. While in the woods all my thoughts was how to get away to a free country.”
Subsequently, in going back over his past history, he referred to the fact, that on an occasion long before the cave and tree existence, already noticed, when suffering under this brutal master, he sought protection in the woods and abode twenty-seven months in a cave, before he surrendered himself, or was captured. His offence, in this instance, was simply because he desired to see his wife, and “stole” away from his master’s plantation and went a