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could only trust to Providence to furnish me transportation home. A person who has never experienced such loneliness, can not imagine how one feels under such circumstances. A man in time of peace, left very sick, by the roadside, with no friend nigh, would think death inevitable, but a soldier, inured to the hardships of camp life, and war, thinks lightly of such surroundings, at least, he never thinks of desponding.

I had remained there but a short time, when a little boy came riding along, going in the opposite direction to that I wished to go. I halted him, however, and tried to hire him to turn back and carry me to Coffeyville, a distance of seven miles; he replied that he was compelled to go a little way farther, on some business, and then would return, and comply with my request. In the meantime, however, while I was waiting, another boy came along, going in the direction I wished to go, so I hailed him, and asked if he would carry me, and what he would charge, (for money was an object), he said he was not going so far as Coffeyville, but would carry me as far as he was going in that direction, then we would talk about the pay. I was elated at the prospect of going toward home, some faster than afoot. He gave me the saddle, and he rode behind, although he was a large boy, and I think had been or was going a-courting. I had not been on horse back in two years. He let me ride two or three miles and charged me $2.00.

I walked a half mile, and overtook T. N. Steed, one of my comrades. I sat down by a tree to rest, and tore the entire back out of my shirt. It being the only one I had, or had had since a prisoner. I had it off while in prison and washed it, and went without one until it dried.

My comrade immediately drew out one for me to wear home. Had I been alone, I do not know what I would have done. Very soon the first boy, I had spoken to, came along, and I counted, to ride on to Coffeyville. The boy's mother invited me to eat dinner, which I accepted. After dinner she had two mules saddled, and sent Clem Clinton and me six miles farther on our way -- this brought us to Mrs. Montgomery's, whose son, William, was one of our number. T. N. Steed and I remained here for the night.

Next morning, our friend and comrade, Montgomery, sent us six miles farther. This brought us to a Mrs. Davis', a relative of my friend Steed. She prepared breakfast for us, but I was too sick to eat. As soon as my friend, Steed had eaten, she had her team harnessed up and hooked to a wagon, and brought us to her father's, Elijah Bailey, this brought us within five miles of home. Mrs. Reeves, another daughter of Mr. Bailey, had her son Sam, saddle the horses and take us home.

I arrived home at 1:00 P.M. Aug. 1st, 1864, the happiest day of my life. I found them all there, that I had left a little over two years before. I can not describe my feeling, neither can I describe the joy of my good mother and sisters. I will ever remember that day, with pleasing reflections. I suppose the joy at my return was something kin to the return of the Prodigal son. There was no "fatted calf", but a pig was slaughtered, and I donned the best apparel, and was happy. My arrival, was wholly unexpected -- my mother was sitting, reading the Bible, where I could see her through the window. She looked as natural as the day I left; it seemed to me that not another hair had turned gray. My sister Sue, now Mrs. McCraw saw me first, and knew me.

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Life of John C. Porter and Sketch of His Experiences in the Civil War

John C. Porter 1874