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Ogilvie E. HAMBLIN

I AM a resident of Pulaski township, Jackson county, Mich., and am now fifty years old (March, 1892). I enlisted in the United States army, at Jackson, Mich., in 1863, as a private in Company E of the 2nd Regiment Michigan Cavalry, and went from Jackson to Grand Rapids, Mich., thence to Nashville, Tenn., and there we drilled for regular service until February, 1864. Thence we went to Cleveland, Tenn., to join our regiment. We did not see much actual service until May 5, 1864, when we started with Sherman for Atlanta. We went as far as Kenesaw and Lost Mountain and then turned our horses over to Cook's command and came back to Nashville to guard the Nashville & Franklin Railroad until Atlanta was taken. We then drew horses and drilled at Franklin until Forrest came back in Sherman's rear and crossed the Tennessee river. We were then sent to drive him back again. After driving him back we were ordered to guard the river to keep Hood from crossing, our company being sent to Raccoon Ford where Hood was attempting to cross. There was a small engagement took place there when our cavalry was surrounded and all taken prisoners, I being so unfortunate as to get shot through the arm near the shoulder. This was on the 30th day of October, 1864. They took me from Raccoon Ford to Florence, Ala., and there, for practice, the young rebel doctors cut off my arm; I think it could have been saved.

They kept me in the hospital at Florence until the 1st of December, when Hood again commenced moving toward Nashville. Then I was sent to Columbus, Miss., to the rebel hospital, and as soon as I was able I was sent to Cahaba prison, Ala., where I remained until they sent me to Jackson, Miss.; thence to Vicksburg, where I boarded the steamer "Sultana," and then we went up to Memphis, Tenn., and while they were unloading some sugar at Memphis my chum, Frank Perkins, and I spread down our blankets, took off our top clothes all but our shirts and drawers, and were soon in the hand of slumbers, dreaming of battle fields and of all the scenes which we had passed through, when we were suddenly awakened by a terrific explosion. I sprang to my feet only to find the whole boat in a tremendous tumult and uproar. The cries of the dying and the groans of the wounded, and the loud appeals for help, were heartrending. The hold of the boat was full of comrades. They cried for the door of the hold to be opened. My chum (Frank Perkins) and I pulled the door away, when they came rushing out of the hold like bees out of a hive, followed by dense clouds of steam and smoke. I remained on board the boat until the fire and steam drove me off. I then looked the situation over calmly, and, thinking that my underclothes would be a hindrance to me while in the water, I took every stitch of my clothing off as coolly as though about to take a bath which proved to be of considerable duration. The water was already full of the seething mass of humanity. Some were swimming boldly toward the shore, others going down to rise no more. Some were clasping and dragging down to death those who could have saved themselves had they been left unencumbered. All in all it was a terrible sight to behold and one from which I shrink and shudder to this day, nor do I ever wish to witness such a sight again.

Screwing my courage up to the sticking point I prepared to take the leap into the icy waters which I expected to be my sepulchre. I watched my chance for a clear spot so that no one would catch onto me and drown me at once. Into the water, and when I arose to the surface I struck out as best I could. Having but one arm to swim with I found I could do nothing against the strong current, and so let myself float down with the current. After floating for some time I came across my old chum, Frank Perkins, again and three other fellows on a plank. They asked me to get on but the plank would not hold all of us up so I put my arm on his back to rest myself and floated along; then I struck out again, when, behold, a welcome object was in sight—some trees on an island. I floated into a tree top and caught fast with my arm and shouted for help. When nearly exhausted some woodsmen heard me and came to my rescue with a boat. They took me to their shanty. I never was as cold in all my life; I shook until I thought I would shake their shanty down. The steamer blew up between one and two o'clock and I was rescued just before daylight. I could not tell the distance we floated down the river, nor the length of time we were in the water, but it seemed a long time and I do not want another bath like it. The United States steamer "Pocahontas" came up the river and picked us up and took us back to Memphis.

It was quite embarrassing for me when I got off the boat onto the wharf. I was still in the same condition as when I leaped into the water—entirely naked. When we reached the warehouse the United States Sanitary Commission gave me a pair of red drawers and undershirt, when I felt comparatively happy. I was then taken to the Soldiers' Home at Memphis, and there fitted out with a full suit and cared for like a human being. I remained there three days and was then taken to Columbus, Ohio. Thence to Detroit and from there to Jackson, the place of beginning. As I look back over the past, mine was an experience which I would not want to go through again. I am now comfortably situated but am almost totally blind and expect, ere this is published in book form, to be shut entirely out from the light of day, which I can trace back to poor vaccination and exposure while undergoing the above written sufferings.

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