Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/44

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40 Southern Historical Society Papers.

drowned, but which I much preferred to the former. These thoughts were not of a very consoling nature. One thing I knew was that when the heat died out of the balloon I must make a graceful descent; but as to where I should land I could not even guess. To say that I was frightened but faintly expresses it, for the almost instantaneous ascent I had made had not only taken all the breath out of my body, but seemed also to have deprived me of all my nerve and courage for the time being. However, after a while I recovered my breath and found, upon careful examination, that my heart was beating much as usual. The balloon had now reached its equilibrium, and was apparently standing quietly (for there was little air stirring) over the Confederate army, and I was looking down to where, far below me, lay the York river and the surrounding country which I knew so well.


"I was not long left to enjoy the beauties of this scene, for the wind freshened up, and, to my utmost dismay, I found myself being blown from the Confederate lines over into those of the en- emy. It is impossible to describe my feelings. I felt that I was not only leaving my home and friends forever, but was slowly drift- ing to certain capture. Imagine, therefore, my great delight when, after drifting along for some distance, the wind veered and I was blown back toward the Confederate lines. (This ascension had been made from a point back of Dam No. 2, i. e. , Wynn's Mill, on the Confederate lines. It was evident that the balloon was cool- ing and settling, so that I was getting nearer and nearer to the earth. This was in many respects a great comfort, but it was not unalloyed with new dangers. As I have said, the balloon having now drawn near the earth (a few hundred feet above it I suppose) I was blown from the enemy's lines over the Confederate army, but, alas! in a far different locality from where I had ascended. Therefore, when my balloon passed over the spot where Col. Ward's Second Florida Regiment was encamped, they turned out en masse, and believing me to be a Yankee spy, followed me on foot, firing at me as fast as they could. In vain I cried to them that I was a good Confederate; the only answer I received was from the whistling of their bullets. I was as a thing haunted, and knew not which way to turn. However, the wind freshened again, and I was