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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 37. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Major Andrew Reid Venable, Jr. [from Richmond, Va., Times-Dispatch.] (search)
1864), Hampton, having ascertained through his scouts the exact location of the great corral for the supply cattle of the Army of the Potomac, determined to make a bold raid in Grant's rear, and, if possible, to lift (in Hieland phrase) the fat beeves there congregated, of which the Federals always had plenty, while at this time the chief food of the hungry Confederate was but half a ration of hard tack and rancid pork. For many months, indeed, Lee's veterans, like the English just before Agincourt, had been shrewdly out of beef, but Hampton knew that (as the Constable of France allowed of his adversaries on the eve of that historic day) give them great meals of beef, and iron and steel, they will eat like wolves and fight like devils. To penetrate so far to the enemy's rear seemed to many of the boldest a rash undertaking, but the actual cutting out of this immense herd (by official count, two thousand four hundred and eighty-six) was brilliantly accomplished under the very noses