Historical Tales, Vol. 2 (of 15) - The Romance of Reality
by Charles Morris
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"The broken nature of the ground was against all cavalry operations, and though we pushed forward with all our will, it was with difficulty we could keep up with Jackson's 'Foot-cavalry,' as this famous infantry was often called. Meanwhile, a large part of the Federal army, roused by the firing and the alarming reports from the rear, hastened to the field of action, and exerted themselves in vain to arrest the disgraceful rout of their comrades of the Eleventh Corps. Numerous batteries having now joined the conflict, a terrific cannonade roared along the lines, and the fury of the battle was soon at its full height. Towards dark a sudden pause ensued in the conflict, occasioned by Jackson giving orders for his lines to reform for the continuation of the combat, the rapid and prolonged pursuit of the enemy having thrown them into considerable confusion. Old Stonewall being thoroughly impressed with the conviction that in a few hours the enemy's whole forces would be defeated, and that their principal line of retreat would be in the direction of Ely's Ford, Stuart was ordered to proceed at once towards that point with a portion of his cavalry, in order to barricade the road and as much as possible impede the retrograde movement of the enemy.

"In this operation we were joined by a North Carolina infantry regiment, which was already on its way towards the river. Leaving the greater part of the brigade behind us under Fitz Lee's command, we took only the First Virginia Cavalry with us, and, trotting rapidly along a small bypath, overtook the infantry about two miles from the ford. Riding with Stuart a little ahead of our men, I suddenly discovered, on reaching the summit of a slight rise in the road, a large encampment in the valley to our right, not more than a quarter of a mile from where we stood; and, farther still, on the opposite side of the river, more camp-fires were visible, indicating the presence of a large body of troops.

"Calling a halt, the general and I rode cautiously forward to reconnoitre the enemy a little more closely, and we managed to approach near enough to hear distinctly the voices and distinguish the figures of the men sitting around their fires or strolling through the camp. The unexpected presence of so large a body of the enemy immediately in our path entirely disconcerted our previous arrangements. Nevertheless Stuart determined on giving them a slight surprise and disturbing their comfort by a few volleys from our infantry. Just as the regiment, mustering about a thousand, had formed into line according to orders, and was prepared to advance on the enemy, two officers of General A. P. Hill's staff rode up in great haste and excitement, and communicated something in a low tone to General Stuart, by which he seemed greatly startled and affected.

"'Take the command of that regiment, and act on your own responsibility,' were his whispered injunctions to me, as he immediately rode off, followed by the other officers and the cavalry at their topmost speed.

"The thunder of the cannon, which for the last hour had increased in loudness, announced that Jackson had recommenced the battle, but as to the course or actual position of affairs I had not an iota of information, and my anxiety being moreover increased by the suddenness of Stuart's departure on some unknown emergency, I felt rather awkwardly situated. Here was I in the darkness of the night, in an unknown and thickly wooded country, some six miles from our main army, and opposite to a far superior force, whom I was expected to attack with troops whom I had never before commanded, and to whom I was scarcely known. I felt, however, that there was no alternative but blind obedience, so I advanced with the regiment to within about fifty yards of the enemy's encampment and gave the command to fire.

"A hail of bullets rattled through the forest, and as volley after volley was fired, the confusion and dismay occasioned in the camp were indescribable. Soldiers and officers could be plainly seen by the light of the fires walking helplessly about, horses were galloping wildly in all directions, and the sound of bugles and drums mingled with the cries of the wounded and flying, who sought in the distant woods a shelter against the murderous fire of their unseen enemy. The troops whom we thus dispersed and put to flight consisted, as I was afterward informed, of the greater part of Averil's cavalry division, and a great number of the men of this command were so panic-stricken that they did mot consider themselves safe until they had reached the opposite side of the Rapidan, when they straggled off for miles all through Culpeper County.

"Our firing had been kept up for about half an hour, and had by this time stirred up alarm in the camps on the other side of the river, the troops of which were marching on us from various directions. Accordingly, I gave orders to my North Carolinians to retire, leaving the task of bringing his command back to the colonel; while, anxious to rejoin Stuart as soon as I could, I galloped on ahead through the dark forest, whose solemn silence was only broken by the melancholy cry of hosts of whippoorwills. The firing had now ceased altogether, and all fighting seemed to have been entirely given up, which greatly increased my misgivings. After a tedious ride of nearly an hour over the field of battle, still covered with hundreds of wounded groaning in their agony, I at last discovered Stuart seated under a solitary plum-tree, busily writing despatches by the dim light of a lantern.

"From General Stuart I now received the first intimation of the heavy calamity which had befallen us by the wounding of Jackson. After having instructed his men to fire at everything approaching from the direction of the enemy, in his eagerness to reconnoitre the position of the Federals, and entirely forgetting his own orders, he had been riding with his staff-officers outside our pickets, when, on their return, being mistaken for the enemy, the little party were received by a South Carolina regiment with a volley that killed or wounded nearly every man of them and laid low our beloved Stonewall himself. The Federals advancing at the same time, a severe skirmish ensued, in the course of which one of the bearers of the litter on which the general was being carried was killed, and Jackson fell heavily to the ground, receiving soon afterward a second wound. For a few minutes, in fact, the general was in the hands of the enemy, but his men, becoming aware of his perilous position, rushed forward, and, speedily driving back the advancing foe, carried their wounded commander to the rear."

Jackson received three balls, one in the right hand and two in the left arm, one of these shattering the bone just below the shoulder and severing an artery. He was borne to the Wilderness tavern, where a Confederate hospital had been established, and there his arm was amputated. Eight days after receiving his wounds, on the 10th of May, he died, an attack of pneumonia being the chief cause of his death. His last words were, as a smile of ineffable sweetness passed over his pale face, "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees."

Thus died the man who was justly named the "right hand" of General Lee, and whose death converted his last great victory into a serious disaster for the Confederate cause, the loss of a leader like Stonewall Jackson being equivalent to the destruction of an army.


The romance of war dwells largely upon the exploits of partisan leaders, men with a roving commission to do business on their own account, and in whose ranks are likely to gather the dare-devils of the army, those who love to come and go as they please, and leave a track of adventure and dismay behind them. There were such leaders in both armies during the Civil War, and especially in that of the South; and among the most daring and successful of them was General John H. Morgan, whose famous raid through Indiana and Ohio it is our purpose here to describe.

Morgan was a son of the people, not of the aristocratic cavalier class, but was just the man to make his mark in a conflict of this character, being richly supplied by nature with courage, daring, and self-possession in times of peril. He became a cavalry leader in the regular service, but was given a free foot to control his own movements, and had gathered about him a body of men of his own type, with whom he roamed about with a daring and audacity that made him a terror to the enemy.

Morgan's most famous early exploit was his invasion of Kentucky in 1862, in which he kept the State in a fever of apprehension during most of the summer, defeating all who faced him and venturing so near to Cincinnati that the people of that city grew wild with apprehension. Only the sharp pursuit of General G. C. Smith, with a superior cavalry force, saved that rich city from being made an easy prey to Morgan and his men.

As preliminary to our main story, we may give in brief one of Morgan's characteristic exploits. The town of Gallatin, twenty miles north of Nashville, was occupied by a small Federal force and seemed to Morgan to offer a fair field for one of his characteristic raids. His men were ready,—they always were for an enterprise promising danger and loot,—and they fell on the town with a swoop that quickly made them its masters and its garrison their captives.

While the victors were paying themselves for their risk by spoiling the enemy, Morgan proceeded to the telegraph office, with the hope that he might find important despatches. So sudden had been the assault that the operator did not know that anything out of the usual had taken place, and took Morgan for a Northern officer. When asked what was going on, he replied,—

"Nothing particular, except that we hear a good deal about the doings of that rebel bandit, Morgan. If he should happen to come across my path, I have pills enough here to satisfy him." He drew his revolver and flourished it bravely in the air.

Morgan turned on the braggart with a look and tone that quite robbed him of his courage, saying, "I am Morgan! You are speaking to Morgan, you miserable wretch. Do you think you have any pills to spare for me?"

The operator almost sank on his knees with terror, while the weapon fell from his nerveless hand.

"Don't be scared," said the general. "I will not hurt you. But I want you to send off this despatch at once to Prentiss."

The much-scared operator quickly ticked off the following message,—

"MR. PRENTISS,—As I learn at this telegraph office that you intend to proceed to Nashville, perhaps you will allow me to escort you there at the head of my troop."


What effect this despatch had on Prentiss history sayeth not.

With this preliminary account of Morgan and the character of his exploits, we proceed to the most famous incident of his career, his daring invasion of the North, one of the most stirring and exciting incidents of the war.

The main purpose of this invasion is said to have been to contrive a diversion in favor of General Buckner, who proposed to make a dash across Kentucky and seize Louisville, and afterward, with Morgan's aid, to capture Cincinnati. It was also intended to form a nucleus for an armed counter-revolution in the Northwest, where the "Knights of the Golden Circle" and the "Sons of Liberty," associations in sympathy with the South, were strong. But with these ulterior purposes we have nothing here to do, our text being the incidents of the raid itself.

General Morgan started on this bold adventure on June 27, 1863, with a force of several thousand mounted men, and with four pieces of artillery. The start was made from Sparta, Tennessee, where the swollen Cumberland was crossed in boats and canoes on the 1st and 2d of July, the horses, with some difficulty, being made to swim.

After successful encounters with Jacob's cavalry and a troop of Wolford's cavalry, the adventurers pushed on, reaching the stockade at Green River Bridge on July 4. Here Colonel Moore was strongly intrenched with a small body of Michigan troops, and sent the following reply to Morgan's demand for a surrender: "If it was any other day I might consider the demand, but the 4th of July is a bad day to talk about surrender, and I must therefore decline."

Moore proved quite capable, with the aid of his intrenchments, of making good his refusal, Morgan being repulsed, after a brisk engagement, with a loss of about sixty men, as estimated by Captain Cunningham, an officer of his staff. Lebanon was taken, after a severe engagement, on the 5th, yielding the Confederates a good supply of guns and ammunition, and the Ohio was reached, at Brandenburg, in a drenching rain, on the evening of the 7th. Here two steamers were seized and the whole force crossed on the next day to the Indiana shore.

General Morgan's force had been swelled, by recruits gained in Kentucky, until it now numbered four thousand six hundred men, and its four guns had become ten. But he was being hotly pursued by General Hobson, who had hastily got on his track with a cavalry force stronger than his own. This reached the river to see the last of Morgan's men safe on the Indiana shore, and one of the steamers they had used floating, a mass of flames, down the stream.

Hobson's loss of time in crossing the stream gave Morgan twenty-four hours' advance, which he diligently improved. The advance of Rosecrans against Bragg had prevented the proposed movement of Buckner to the north, and there remained for Morgan only an indefinite movement through the Northern States with the secondary hope of finding aid and sympathy there. It was likely to be an enterprise of the utmost peril, with Hobson hotly on his track, and the home-guards rising in his front, but the dauntless Morgan did not hesitate in his desperate adventure.

The first check was at Corydon, where a force of militia had gathered. But these were quickly overpowered, the town was forced to yield its quota of spoil, three hundred fresh horses were seized, and Morgan adopted a shrewd system of collecting cash contributions from the well-to-do, demanding one thousand dollars from the owner of each mill and factory as a condition of saving their property from the flames. It may be said here that Corydon was the principal place in which any strong opposition was made by the people, the militia being concentrated at the large towns, which Morgan took care to avoid, pursuing his way through the panic-stricken villages and rural districts. There were other brushes with the home-guards, but none of much importance.

The failure of the original purpose of the movement, and the brisk pursuit of the Federal cavalry, left Morgan little to hope for but to get in safety across the Ohio again. In addition to Hobson's cavalry force, General Judah's division was in active motion to intercept him, and the whole line of the Ohio swarmed with foes. The position of the raiders grew daily more desperate, but they rode gallantly on, trusting the result to destiny and the edge of their good swords.

On swept Morgan and his men; on rushed Hobson and his troopers. But the former rode on fresh horses; the latter followed on jaded steeds. For five miles on each side of his line of march Morgan swept the country clear of horses, leaving his own weary beasts in their stead, while Hobson's force, finding no remounts, grew steadily less in number from the exhaustion of his horses. The people, through fear, even fed and watered the horses of Morgan's men with the greatest promptness, thus adding to the celerity of his movements.

Some anecdotes of the famous ride may here be fitly given. At one point on his ride through Indiana Morgan left the line of march with three hundred and fifty of his men to visit a small town, the main body marching on. Dashing into the place, he found a body of some three hundred home-guards, each with a good horse. They were dismounted and their horses tied to the fences. Their captain, a confiding individual, on the wrong side of sixty, looked with surprise at this irruption, and asked,—

"Whose company is this?"

"Wolford's cavalry," was the reply.

"What? Kentucky boys? Glad to see you. Where's Wolford?"

"There he sits," answered the man, pointing to Morgan, who was carelessly seated sideways on his horse. Walking up to Wolford,—as he thought him,—the Indiana captain saluted him,—

"Captain, how are you?"

"Bully; how are you? What are you going to do with all these men and horses?"

"Why, you see that horse-thieving John Morgan is in this part of the country, cutting up the deuce. Between you and me, captain, if he comes this way, we'll try and give him the best we've got in the shop."

"You'll find him hard to catch. We've been after him for fourteen days and can't see him at all," said Morgan.

"If our hosses would only stand fire we'd be all right."

"They won't stand, eh?"

"Not for shucks. I say, captain, I'd think it a favor if you and your men would put your saddles on our hosses, and give our lads a little idea of a cavalry drill. They say you're prime at that."

"Why, certainly; anything to accommodate. I think we can show you some useful evolutions."

Little time was lost in changing the saddles from the tired to the fresh horses, the hoosier boys aiding in the work, and soon the Confederates, delighted with the exchange, were in their saddles and ready for the word. Morgan rode up and down the column, then moved to the front, took off his hat, and said,—

"All right now, captain. If you and your men will form a double line along the road and watch us, we will try to show you a movement you have never seen."

The captain gave the necessary order to his men, who drew up in line.

"Are you ready?" asked Morgan.

"All right, Wolford."

"Forward!" shouted Morgan, and the column shot ahead at a rattling pace, soon leaving nothing in sight but a cloud of dust. When the news became whispered among the astonished hoosiers that the polite visitor was Morgan instead of Wolford, there was gnashing of teeth in that town, despite the fact that each man had been left a horse in exchange for his own.

As Morgan rode on he continued his polite method of levying a tax from the mill-owners instead of burning their property. At Salem, the next place after leaving Corydon, he collected three thousand dollars from three mill-owners. Capturing, at another time, Washington De Pauw, a man of large wealth, he said to him,—

"Sir, do you consider your flour-mill worth two thousand dollars?"

De Pauw thought it was worth that.

"Very well; you can save it for that much money."

De Pauw promptly paid the cash.

"Now," said Morgan, "do you think your woollen-mill worth three thousand dollars?"

"Yes," said De Pauw, with more hesitation.

"You can buy it from us for that sum."

The three thousand dollars was paid over less willingly, and the mill-owner was heartily glad that he had no other mills to redeem.

Another threat to burn did not meet with as much success. Colonel Craven, of Ripley, who was taken prisoner, talked in so caustic a tone that Morgan asked where the colonel lived.

"At Osgood," was the answer.

"That little town on the railroad?"

"Yes," said the colonel.

"All right; I shall send a detachment there to burn the town."

"Burn and be hanged!" said the colonel; "it isn't much of a town, anyhow."

Morgan laughed heartily at the answer.

"I like the way you talk, old fellow," he said, "and I guess your town can stand."

As the ride went on Morgan had more and more cause for alarm. Hobson was hanging like a burr on his rear, rarely more than half a day's march behind—the lack of fresh horses kept him from getting nearer. Judah was on his flank, and had many of his men patrolling the Ohio. The governors had called for troops, and the country was rising on all sides. The Ohio was now the barrier between him and safety, and Morgan rode thither at top speed, striking the river on the 19th at Buffington Ford, above Pomeroy, in Ohio. For the past week, as Cunningham says, "every hill-side contained an enemy and every ravine a blockade, and we reached the river dispirited and worn down."

At the river, instead of safety, imminent peril was found. Hundreds of Judah's men were on the stream in gunboats to head him off. Hobson, Wolford, and other cavalry leaders were closing in from behind. The raiders seemed environed by enemies, and sharp encounters began. Judah struck them heavily in flank. Hobson assailed them in the rear, and, hemmed in on three sides and unable to break through the environing lines, five hundred of the raiders, under Dick Morgan and Ward, were forced to surrender.

"Seeing that the enemy had every advantage of position," says Cunningham, "an overwhelming force of infantry and cavalry, and that we were becoming completely environed in the meshes of the net set for us, the command was ordered to move up the river at double-quick, ... and we moved rapidly off the field, leaving three companies of dismounted men, and perhaps two hundred sick and wounded, in the enemy's possession. Our cannon were undoubtedly captured at the river."

Morgan now followed the line of the stream, keeping behind the hills out of reach of the gunboat fire, till Bealville, fourteen miles above, was reached. Here he rode to the stream, having distanced the gunboats, and with threats demanded aid from the people in crossing. Flats and scows were furnished for only about three hundred of the men, who managed to cross before the gunboats appeared in sight. Others sought to cross by swimming. In this effort Cunningham had the following experience:

"My poor mare being too weak to carry me, turned over and commenced going down; encumbered by clothes, sabre, and pistols, I made but poor progress in the turbid stream. But the recollections of home, of a bright-eyed maiden in the sunny South, and an inherent love of life, actuated me to continue swimming.... But I hear something behind me snorting! I feel it passing! Thank God, I am saved! A riderless horse dashes by; I grasp his tail; onward he bears me, and the shore is reached!" And thus Cunningham passes out of the story.

The remainder of the force fled inland, hotly pursued, fighting a little, burning bridges, and being at length brought to bay, surrounded by foes, and forced to surrender, except a small party with Morgan still at their head. Escape for these seemed hopeless. For six days more they rode onward, in a desperate effort to reach the Ohio at some unguarded point. They were sharply pursued, and, at length, on Sunday, July 26, found themselves very hotly pressed. Along one road dashed Morgan, at the full speed of his mounts. Over a road at right angles rushed Major Rue, thundering along. It was a sharp burst for the intersection. Morgan reached it first, and Rue thought he had escaped. But the major knew the country like a book. His horses were fresh and Morgan's were jaded. Another tremendous dash was made for the Beaver Creek road, and this the major reached a little ahead.

It was all up now with the famous raid. Morgan's men were too few to break through the intercepting force. He made the bluff of sending a flag with a demand to surrender; but Rue couldn't see it in that light, and a few minutes afterward Morgan rode up to him, saying, "You have beat me this time," and expressing himself as gratified that a Kentuckian was his captor.

A mere fragment of the command remained, the others having been scattered and picked up at various points, and thus ended the career, in capture or death, of nearly all the more than four thousand bold raiders who had crossed the Ohio three weeks before. They had gained fame, but with captivity as its goal.

Morgan and several of his officers were taken to Columbus, the capital of Ohio, and were there confined in felon cells in the penitentiary. Four months afterward the leader and six of his captains escaped and made their way in safety to the Confederate lines. Here is the story in outline of how they got free from durance vile.

Two small knives served them for tools, with which they dug through the floors of their cells, composed of cement and nine inches of brickwork, and in this way reached an air-chamber below. They had now only to dig through the soft earth under the foundation walls of the penitentiary and open a passage into the yard. They had furnished themselves with a strong rope, made of their bed-clothes, and with this they scaled the walls. In some way they had procured citizen's clothes, so that those who afterward saw them had no suspicion.

In the cell Morgan left the following note: "Cell No. 20. November 20, 1863. Commencement, November 4, 1863. Conclusion, November 20, 1863. Number of hours of labor per day, three. Tools, two small knives. La patience est amere, mais son fruit est doux [Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet]. By order of my six honorable confederates."

Morgan and Captain Hines went immediately to the railroad station (at one o'clock in the morning) and boarded a train going towards Cincinnati. When near this city, they went to the rear car, slackened the speed by putting on the brake, and jumped off, making their way to the Ohio. Here they induced a boy to row them across, and soon found shelter with friends in Kentucky.

A reward of one thousand dollars was offered for Morgan, "alive or dead," but the news of the ovation with which he was soon after received in Richmond proved to his careless jailers that he was safely beyond their reach.

A few words will finish the story of Morgan's career. He was soon at the head of a troop again, annoying the enemy immensely in Kentucky. One of his raiding parties, three hundred strong, actually pushed General Hobson, his former pursuer, into a bend of the Licking River, and captured him with twelve hundred well-armed men. This was Morgan's last exploit. Soon afterward he, with a portion of his staff, were surrounded when in a house at Greenville by Union troops, and the famous Confederate leader was shot dead while seeking to escape.


Sad is defeat, and more than sad was the last march of General Lee's gallant army after its four years of heroic struggle, as it despondently made its way along the Virginian roads westward from the capital city which it had defended so long and valiantly. It was the verdant spring-tide, but the fresh green foliage had no charms for the heart-broken and starving men, whose food supplies had grown so low that they were forced to gnaw the young shoots of the trees for sustenance. It is not our purpose here to tell what followed the surrounding of the fragment of an army by an overwhelming force of foes, the surrender and parole, and the dispersion of the veteran troops to the four winds, but to confine ourselves to the homeward journey of General Lee and a few of his veterans.

Shortly after the surrender, General Lee returned to Richmond, riding slowly from the scene on his iron-gray war-horse, "Traveller," which had borne him so nobly through years of battle and siege. His parting with his soldiers was pathetic, and everywhere on his road to Richmond he received tokens of admiration and respect from friend and foe. Reaching Richmond, he and his companions passed sadly through a portion of the city which exhibited a distressing scene of blackened ruins from the recent conflagration. As he passed onward he was recognized, and the people flocked to meet him, cheering and waving hats and handkerchiefs. The general, to whom this ovation could not have been agreeable, simply raised his hat in response to the greetings of the citizens, and rode on to his residence in Franklin Street. The closing of its doors upon his retiring form was the final scene in that long drama of war of which for years he had been the central figure. He had returned to that private family life for which his soul had yearned even in the most active scenes of the war.

It is our purpose here to reproduce a vivid personal account of the adventures of some of the retiring soldiers, especially as General Lee bore a part in their experiences. The narrative given is the final one of a series of incidents in the life of the private soldier, related by Private Carlton McCarthy. These papers, in their day, were widely read and much admired, and an extract from them cannot fail still to be of interest. We take up the story of the "Brave Survivors, homeward bound:"

"Early in the morning of Wednesday, the 12th of April, without the stirring drum or the bugle call of old, the camp awoke to the new life. Whether or not they had a country, these soldiers did not know. Home to many, when they reached it, was graves and ashes. At any rate, there must be, somewhere on earth, a better place than a muddy, smoky camp in a piece of scrubby pines; better company than gloomy, hungry comrades and inquisitive enemies, and something in the future more exciting, if not more hopeful, than nothing to eat, nowhere to sleep, nothing to do, and nowhere to go. The disposition to start was apparent, and the preparations were promptly begun.

"To roll up the old blanket and oil-cloth, gather up the haversack, canteen, axe, perhaps, and a few trifles,—in time of peace of no value,—eat the fragments that remained, and light a pipe, was the work of a few moments. This slight employment, coupled with pleasant anticipations of the unknown, and therefore possibly enjoyable future, served to restore somewhat the usual light-hearted manner of soldiers and relieve the final farewells of much of their sadness. There was even a smack of hope and cheerfulness as the little groups sallied out into the world to combat they scarcely knew what. As we cannot follow all these groups, we will join ourselves to one and see them home.

"Two 'brothers-in-arms,' whose objective-point is Richmond, take the road on foot. They have nothing to eat and no money. They are bound for their home in a city which, when they last heard from it, was in flames. What they will see when they arrive there they cannot imagine, but the instinctive love of home urges them. They walk on steadily and rapidly, and are not diverted by surroundings. It does not even occur to them that their situation, surrounded on all sides by armed enemies and walking a road crowded by them, is at all novel. They are suddenly aroused to a sense of their situation by a sharp 'Halt! Show your parole.' They had struck the cordon of picket-posts which surrounded the surrendered army. It was the first exercise of authority by the Federal army. A sergeant, accompanied by a couple of muskets, stepped into the road, with a modest air examined the paroles, and said, quietly, 'Pass on.'

"This strictly military part of the operation being over, the social commenced. As the two 'survivors' passed on they were followed by numerous remarks, such as, 'Hello, Johnny! I say—going home?' 'Ain't you glad?' They made no reply, these wayfarers, but they thought some very emphatic remarks.

"From this point 'on to Richmond' was the grand thought. Steady work it was. The road, strangely enough, considering the proximity of two armies, was quite lonesome, and not an incident of interest occurred during the day. Darkness found the two comrades still pushing on.

"Some time after dark a light was seen a short distance ahead, and there was a 'sound of revelry.' On approaching, the light was seen to proceed from a large fire, built on the floor of an old and dilapidated outhouse, and surrounded by a ragged, hungry, singing, and jolly crowd of paroled prisoners of the Army of Northern Virginia, who had gotten possession of a quantity of cornmeal and were waiting for the ash-cakes then in the ashes. Being liberal, they offered the new-comers some of their bread. Being hungry, they accepted and ate their first meal that day. Finding the party noisy and riotous, the comrades pushed on in the darkness after a short rest and spent the night on the road.

"Thursday morning they entered the village of Buckingham Court-House, and traded a small pocket-mirror for a substantial breakfast. There was quite a crowd of soldiers gathered around a cellar-door, trying to persuade an ex-Confederate A. A. A. Commissary of Subsistence that he might as well, in view of the fact that the army had surrendered, let them have some of the stores; and, after considerable persuasion and some threats, he decided to forego the hope of keeping them for himself and told the men to help themselves. They did so.

"As the two tramps were about to leave the village and were hurrying along the high-road which led through it, they saw a solitary horseman approaching from the rear. It was easy to recognize at once General Lee. He rode slowly, calmly along. As he passed an old tavern on the roadside some ladies and children waved their handkerchiefs, smiled, and wept. The general raised his eyes to the porch on which they stood, and, slowly raising his hand to his hat, lifted it slightly and as slowly again dropped his hand to his side. The 'survivors' did not weep, but they had strange sensations. They passed on, steering, so to speak, for Cartersville and the ferry.

"Before leaving the village it was the sad duty of the 'survivors' to stop at the humble abode of Mrs. P. and tell her of the death of her husband, who fell mortally wounded, pierced by a musket-ball, near Sailor's Creek. She was also told that a companion who was by his side when he fell, but who was not able to stay with him, would come along soon and give her the particulars. That comrade came and repeated the story. In a few days the dead man reached home alive and scarcely hurt. He was originally an infantryman, recently transferred to artillery, and therefore wore a small knapsack, as infantry did. The ball struck the knapsack with a 'whack!' and knocked the man down. That was all."

The night was spent in an old building near the ferry, and in the morning the ferryman cheerfully put them across the river without charge.

"Soon after crossing, a good, silver-plated tablespoon, bearing the monogram of one of the travellers, purchased from an aged colored woman a large chunk of ash-cake and about half a gallon of buttermilk. This old darky had lived in Richmond in her younger days. She spoke of grown men and women there as 'chillun what I raised.' 'Lord! boss—does you know Miss Sadie? Well, I nussed her and I nussed all uv their chillun; that I did, sah. You chillun does look hawngry, that you does. Well, you's welcome to these vittles, and I'm pow'ful glad to git dis spoon. God bless you, honey!' A big log on the roadside furnished a comfortable seat for the consumption of the before-mentioned ash-cake and milk.

"The feast was hardly begun when the tramp of a horse's hoofs were heard. Looking up, the 'survivors' saw with surprise General Lee approaching. He was entirely alone and rode slowly along. Unconscious that any one saw him, he was yet erect, dignified, and apparently as calm and peaceful as the fields and woods around him. Having caught sight of the occupants of the log, he kept his eyes fixed on them, and as he passed turned slightly, saluted, and said, in the most gentle manner, 'Good-morning, gentlemen; taking your breakfast?' The soldiers had only time to rise, salute, and say, 'Yes, sir,' and he was gone.

"It seems that General Lee pursued the road which the 'survivors' chose, and, starting later than they, overtook them, he being mounted and they on foot. At any rate, it was their good fortune to see him three times on the road from Appomattox to Richmond. The incidents introducing General Lee are peculiarly interesting, and the reader may rest assured of the truthfulness of the narration as to what occurred and what was said and done.

"After the feast of bread and milk, the no longer hungry men passed on. About the time when men who have eaten a hearty breakfast become again hungry,—as good fortune would have it happen,—they reached a house pleasantly situated, and a comfortable place withal. Approaching the house, they were met by an exceedingly kind, energetic, and hospitable woman. She promptly asked, 'You are not deserters?' 'No,' said the soldiers; 'we have our paroles; we are from Richmond; we are homeward bound, and called to ask if you could spare us a dinner.' 'Spare you a dinner? Certainly I can. My husband is a miller; his mill is right across the road there, down the hill, and I have been cooking all day for the poor, starving men. Take a seat on the porch there, and I will get you something to eat.'

"By the time the travellers were seated, this admirable woman was in the kitchen at work. The 'pat-a-pat, pat, pat, pat, pat-a-pat, pat' of the sifter, and the cracking and 'fizzing' of the fat bacon as it fried, saluted their hungry ears, and the delicious smell tickled their olfactory nerves most delightfully. Sitting thus, entertained by delightful sounds, breathing the air and wrapped in meditation, or anticipation, rather, the soldiers saw the dust rise in the air and heard the sound of an approaching party.

"Several horsemen rode up to the road-gate, threw their bridles over the posts or tied them to the overhanging boughs, and dismounted. They were evidently officers, well-dressed, fine-looking men, and about to enter the gate. Almost at once the men on the porch recognized General Lee and his son. They were accompanied by other officers. An ambulance had arrived at the gate also. Without delay they entered and approached the house, General Lee preceding the others. Satisfied that it was the general's intention to enter the house, the two 'brave survivors,' instinctively and respectfully venerating the approaching man, determined to give him and his companions the porch. As they were executing a rather rapid and undignified flank movement to gain the right and rear of the house, the voice of General Lee overhauled them thus, 'Where are you men going?' 'This lady has offered to give us a dinner, and we are waiting for it,' replied the soldiers. 'Well, you had better move on now—this gentleman will have quite a large party on him to-day,' said the general. The soldiers touched their caps, said, 'Yes, sir,' and retired, somewhat hurt, to a strong position on a hen-coop in the rear of the house. The party then settled on the porch.

"The general had, of course, no authority, and the surrender of the porch was purely respectful. Knowing this, the soldiers were at first hurt, but a moment's reflection satisfied them that the general was right. He, no doubt, had suspicions of plunder, and these were increased by the movement of the men to the rear as he approached. He misinterpreted their conduct.

"The lady of the house—a reward for her name—hearing the dialogue in the yard, pushed her head through the crack of the kitchen door and, as she tossed a lump of dough from hand to hand and gazed eagerly out, addressed the soldiers: 'Ain't that old General Lee?' 'Yes, General Lee and his son and other officers come to dine with you,' they replied. 'Well,' she said, 'he ain't no better than the men that fought for him, and I don't reckon he is as hungry; so you just come in here. I am going to give you yours first, and then I'll get something for him.'

"What a meal it was! Seated at the kitchen table, the large-hearted woman bustling about and talking away, the ravenous tramps attacked a pile of old Virginia hoecake and corn-dodger, a frying-pan with an inch of gravy and slices of bacon, streak of lean and streak of fat, very numerous. To finish—as much rich buttermilk as the drinkers could contain. With many heartfelt thanks the 'survivors' bade farewell to this immortal woman, and leaving the general and his party in the quiet possession of the front porch, pursued their way.

"Night found the 'survivors' at the gate of a quiet, handsome, framed country residence. The weather was threatening, and it was desirable to have shelter as well as rest. Entering and knocking at the door, they were met by a servant girl. She was sent to her mistress with a request for permission to sleep on her premises. The servant returned, saying, 'Mistis says she is a widder, and there ain't no gentleman in the house, and she can't let you come in.' She was sent with a second message, which informed the lady that the visitors were from Richmond, members of a certain company from there, and would be content with permission to sleep on the porch, in the stable, or in the barn. They would protect her property, etc., etc., etc.

"This message brought the lady of the house to the door. She said, 'If you are members of the —— ——, you must know my nephew, he was in that company. Of course they knew him, 'old chum,' 'comrade,' 'particular friend,' 'splendid fellow,' 'hope he was well when you heard from him; glad to meet you, madam.' These and similar hearty expressions brought the longed-for 'Come in, gentlemen. You are welcome. I will see that supper is prepared for you at once.' (Invitation accepted.)

"The old haversacks were deposited in a corner under the steps and their owners conducted downstairs to a spacious dining-room, quite prettily furnished. A large table occupied the centre of the room, and at one side there was a handsome display of silver in a glass-front case. A good big fire lighted the room. The lady sat quietly working at some woman's work, and from time to time questioning, in a rather suspicious manner, her guests. Their direct answers satisfied her, and their respectful manner reassured her, so that by the time supper was brought in she was chatting and laughing with her 'defenders.'

"The supper came in steaming hot. It was abundant, well prepared, and served elegantly. Splendid coffee, hot biscuit, luscious butter, fried ham, eggs, fresh milk! The writer could not expect to be believed if he should tell the quantity eaten at that meal. The good lady of the house enjoyed the sight. She relished every mouthful, and no doubt realized then and there the blessing which is conferred on hospitality, and the truth of that saying of old, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'

"The wayfarers were finally shown to a neat little chamber. The bed was soft and glistening white; too white and clean to be soiled by the occupancy of two Confederate soldiers who had not had a change of underclothing for many weeks. They looked at it, felt of it, and then spread their old blankets on the neat carpet and slept there till near the break of day.

"While it was yet dark the travellers, unwilling to lose time waiting for breakfast, crept out of the house, leaving their thanks for their kind hostess, and passed rapidly on to Manikin Town, on the James River and Kanawha Canal, half a day's march from Richmond, where they arrived while it was yet early morning. The greensward between the canal and river was inviting, and the 'survivors' laid there awhile to rest and determine whether or not they would push on to the city. They desired to do so as soon as they could find a breakfast to fit them for the day's march."

In this venture they met with a new experience, the party applied to, a well-fed, hearty man, gruffly repulsing them, and complaining that some scoundrels had stolen his best horse the night before. He finally invited them in and set before them the bony remnants of some fish he had had for breakfast. Rising indignantly from the table, the veterans told their inhospitable host that they were not dogs, and would consider it an insult to the canine race to call him one. Apparently fearing that the story of his behavior to old soldiers would be spread to his discredit, he now apologized for the "mistake," and offered to have a breakfast cooked for them, but they were past being mollified, and left him with the most uncomplimentary epithets at the command of two old soldiers of four years' service.

"At eleven A.M. of the same day two footsore, despondent, and penniless men stood facing the ruins of the home of a comrade who had sent a message to his mother. 'Tell mother I am coming.' The ruins yet smoked. A relative of the lady whose home was in ashes, and whose son said, 'I am coming,' stood by the 'survivors.' 'Well, then,' he said, 'it must be true that General Lee has surrendered.' The solemnity of the remark, coupled with the certainty in the minds of the 'survivors,' was almost amusing. The relative pointed out the temporary residence of the mother, and thither the 'survivors' wended their way.

"A knock at the door startled the mother, and with agony in her eyes she appeared at the opened door, exclaiming, 'My poor boys!' 'Are safe and coming home,' said the 'survivors.' 'Thank God!' said the mother, and the tears flowed down her cheeks.

"A rapid walk through ruined and smoking streets, some narrow escapes from negro soldiers on police duty, the satisfaction of seeing two of the 'boys in blue' hung up by their thumbs for pillaging, a few handshakings, and the 'survivors' found their way to the house of a relative, where they did eat bread with thanks.

"A friend informed the 'survivors' that day that farm hands were needed all around the city. They made a note of that and the name of one farmer. Saturday night the old blankets were spread on the parlor floor. Sunday morning, the 16th of April, they bade farewell to the household and started for the farmer's house.

"As they were about to start away, the head of the family took from his pocket a handful of odd silver pieces, and extending them to the guests, told them it was all he had, but they were welcome to half of it. Remembering that he had a wife and three or four children to feed, the soldiers smiled through their tears at his, bade him keep it all, and 'weep for himself rather than for them.' So saying, they departed, and at sundown were at the farmer's house, fourteen miles away.

"Monday morning, the 17th, they 'beat their swords (muskets in this case) into ploughshares' and did the first day's work of the sixty which the simple farmer secured at a cost to himself of about half rations for two men. Behold the gratitude of a people! Where grow now the shrubs which of old bore leaves and twigs for garlands? The brave live! are the fair dead? Shall time of calamity, downfall or ruin, annihilate sacrifice or hatch an ingrate brood?"


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