(Exceprts from the diary of John Tuttle of Monticello, Kentucky.)
Tuesday, January 29. Spent the entire forenoon in the Masonic Lodge. Raised J. S. Frisbie. In the evening J. S. Frisbie, Dr. Rousseau of Iowa and myself went to the Masonic Hall and spent most of the evening discussing the science of Free Masonry. Engaged to defend Berry Hill, Rebecca and Nancy Slaven charged with stealing a beef. The trial to take place at Esq. Dolan's on the 2nd prox...
Saturday, February 2. When we awoke this morning the rain had ceased. The clouds were scattered and seemed to be fast rolling away from the bright face of Heaven. The Sun had already mounted high above the eastern hills and was pouring down a flood of mellow light betokening a day of unrivaled beauty. We were seized with an almost irresistible desire to proceed upon our journey but that seemed impossible as the waters of the South Fork were so swollen by the rain of yesterday and last night that we could find no means of crossing with our horses. We at length with extreme reluctance concluded to abandon our trip. Wishing to make a few small purchases from the store on the other side we crossed over in a canoe. While over there we were informed that we could obtain one horse of Mr. Charles Lovelace who lived about a mile distant and another of the old man Lovelace about three quarters farther on-- both on our road to Esq. Dolan's. We accordingly struck out on foot trusting to chance for horses. When we arrived at the first house at which we were directed to apply we succeeded in obtaining a little wild filly which with no little difficulty we bridled and saddled. Hardin appropriated her to himself and I footed it on to the next house where I obtained a little slick necked sorrel pony of the mountain scrub stock. Being thus provided with horses we plunged into the surging billows of Lonesome reached the other side in safety and pursued our journey to Rock Creek. When we reached the banks of that stream the waters dashed with such furious power that being unacquainted with the ford we did not deem it prudent to attempt crossing. After all the difficulties we had encountered and so successfully surmounted it seemed as though we had at last met with an impassable barrier. Our situation about that time was truly unenviable. We did not know what course to pursue though felt convinced of the necessity of doing something as the coldest rain I ever felt poured down in torrents upon our unprotected shoulders we having left our shawls and umbrellas at Parmleysville. The mind of Caesar as he paused upon the banks of the Rubicon was not more keenly alive to the importance of passing that stream than were ours to the importance of gaining the opposite shore of the one before us. But a few hundred yards distant and in plain view lay the goal of our destination. To turn back then was out of the question but to proceed seemed impossible. As thus we sat upon our horses in the cold rain shivering and benumbed we observed several persons on the bank of the creek below us just opposite Esq. Dolan's house and thinking there might perhaps be a better ford down there we started in that direction but met Wm. Burk and several others on their way to the ford we had just left. He was riding a large strong horse and crossed over. But it was plain to us that the slight quadrupeds we were riding would be unable to breast the current so we went down to the lower ford which they said was not so swift intending to swim our horses over. Upon our arrival at the latter place we found several persons who wished to cross but were afraid to make the attempt. We all finally went up the creek about a mile and crossed. We reached our journey's end about noon and were soon engaged in our cases. Berry Hill demanded and obtained a separate trial. We wrangled a considerable length of time before we could get a trial but in the end succeeded in getting their Honors to decide all the questions which were raised in our favor.
The prosecutor a Mr. Lewallen asked the Court to allow a Mr. Newport to assist him in conducting the examination of the witnesses. This worthy gentleman (s) inflated to the utmost possible extent with a sense of his own importance examined his first witness in chief and passed him to me.
I began the cross examination but Mr. Newport in his abundant wisdom decided my question illegal and told the witness he need not answer it. I informed him that when I wished him to decide upon the legality of the questions I asked I would call on him. I attempted to propound another question to the witness but was again interrupted by Mr. Newport who told me I should ask no such question and again directed the witness not to answer. I told him I would take the liberty to ask such questions as I thought proper subject only the decision of the court. I informed him moreover that I had submitted to his insolence quite as long as I intended and that if again interrupted by him I would make him rue it to the last day of his life. The crowd of whom few sided with Hardin and myself were thrown into a state of considerable excitement. Quiet however was soon restored. We were not again interrupted by Mr. Newport. We finally got through with the first case and our client was discharged. A murmur of indignation ran through the crowd and all seemed more than ever determined that the prisoners whose turn came next should not get off so easily if anything could be accomplished by means of outside pressure. My man Newport again rallied to the charge nerved to the task by a fresh supply of whisky taken aboard in the interval between the two cases. He seemed determined to carry this case by storm. In settling some of the preliminaries he took a very active part. His insolence became intolerable. We appealed to the court to rule him out of the case but they recognized his right to appear. Finding every effort to get rid of him peaceably of no avail we gave him a pretty decided intimation that his immediate personal welfare depended upon his keeping dark during the trial of the cause then pending. We had no farther trouble with him. Several of the outsiders from time to time interfered in the progress of the trial and Hardin and John Lewallen came very near to dagger's point a time or two but were prevented from fighting. The examination closed about 8 o'clock. Hardin made a short argument and submitted the case. Their Honors retired and after a brief consultation announced that in their opinion no sufficient cause existed for sending our clients on to farther trial. So high was the indignation felt by some present that they turned loose both of our horses. We went to bed with the not very pleasing prospect before us of being compelled to walk to Parmleysville and hire someone to take our saddles to where we obtained them.
Diary of Captain John W. Tuttle, Monticello, Kentucky, Third Kentucky Volume Infantry, Company H.
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