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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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start, for about the space of two hundred yards down a road mighty trees overhead and 
around, by
the sloping hill-side, which being pursued straight onwards leads to Green
River.   But we, on the right turning sharply. are now gazing downwards at the Cave s
mouth.     A great, oval-shaped cavern at the bottom of a ravine,
rude rock-steps winding downwards from the front, under the overarching
rock stratra.    From the arches centre, issuing forth from pendant verdure
and tree shrubbery, plashes down a spring of bright water into a long
trough below, behind which, and partially closing the entrance is a rough
log hut. (Tis used for a larder during the summer s heat.)    All about &
above, wild vines and creepers hang, their fresh sun-lit green standing
out deliciously from the hell-black night within.     A chill blast of
air from the Cavern s jaws welcomes us, as, our lamps having been
procured from an adjacent, (formerly habited, but now discussed,) building,  
downwards we go, Stephen; cigar in mouth, leading the way.   We
now spy stones piled up on either side of the way, and long wooden pipes,
heretofore used in conveying water farther on into the cave to hoppers used
by saltpeter makers.   During the war of 1812 the profits of this man-
ufacture set folks to extensive cave exploration; and the earth in the
Mammoth Cave, instinct with nitre was used to good purpose; being
purchased by government contractors, Gratz & Wilkins for that object.
The war ending, prices fell, and for manufacturing ends, the Cave
was disused.     Later, however, old miners, desirous of raising a dollar or
so, have done a little lixivating the nitrous earth, but they were solitary
cases.       Onwards we go, through a long low cavernous straight,
hight the Narrows, passing, to reach it through a doorway in
a rough stone wall, stretching cross wise athwart the cave.     The
cave breath is chill and strong, but slackens as we advance, until 
a temperately cold, tranquil atmosphere is around you, varying not
much the twelve months round.     Swinging our lamps, through the
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Six: page one hundred and thirty-one
Description:Describes a visit to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.
Date:1853-09-30
Subject:African Americans; Bishop, Stephen; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Mammoth Cave (Ky.); Travel
Coverage (City/State):[Kentucky]
Scan Date:2011-02-02

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Six
Description:Includes descriptions of Gunn's writing and drawing work in New York, a visit to the Catskill Mountains, attending the wedding of his friend Charles Damoreau (Brown), a visit to the Crystal Palace in New York, his friend Lotty's difficult marriage to John Whytal, a sailing trip around Lake Superior, a visit to Mackinac Island in Michigan, a visit to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, and a journey by horseback from Kentucky to Louisiana with friends.
Subject:African Americans; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Marriage; Native Americans; Publishers and publishing; Slavery; Travel; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Michigan; Wisconsin; Ohio; Kentucky; Mississippi; Alabama; Louisiana
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2011 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.