colonel said, “Praised be God!
It is true; Grant
never jests;” and again the woods rang with grateful shouts.
Some danced wildly about, all shouting and shaking hands, and a few even rolled on the grass in deliriums of joy, that our nation's birthday should be welcomed in a way like that.
As for me, I saw again the boys in blue marching down the court-house steps of my native village, off over the lawn, and away to death and glory.
Some of them were then beside me, and joining in the maddening shouts of victory.
I could not shout; my heart was too full, my joy too great.
That night I wrote in my diary: “This day has rewarded me a thousand times for all the sacrifices, hardships, dangers, and vicissitudes of two years as a private soldier.”
I went to my little tent, made of bushes, and writing my mother a letter, told how gloriously Vicksburg
was won, and how her boy had helped to take it. I inclosed to her, too, a copy of my commission in one of the fighting regiments, and closed by asking if she were not glad her boy was not too young to be a soldier?
Her answer brought me her blessing and her prayer, and I was doubly rewarded.
We at once turned and pursued the enemy in our rear, under Johnston
prisoners were to go back to a camp of parole, and for days we marched along the country road side by sidelines of the “blue” and lines of the “gray.”
It was a strange sightthose two armies that only a few hours before had been hurling destruction and death at each other, now walking in silence, side by side; they to prison, we in pursuit of their retreating comrades; we glowing in victory, they saddened in defeat.
There were no jeers as we marched along; no reproaching, no boasting, and no insults.
On the contrary, we recognized an honorable foe, crippled but not dead; and many were the little kindnesses received on that strange and silent march, by Pemberton
's men, from the boys of Grant
Many a ration was divided, many a canteen filled, and many were the mutual, sympathizing wishes that the cruel war might soon be over.
I recall how a soldier, observing one of the prisoners foot-sore, weary with the march, and almost fainting, relieved him by taking from him his heavy burden, and fastening it on top of his own, carrying it for miles.
The prisoners, seeing the incident, cheered, and I think more than one honest, kindly man of that stranger train was touched to tears.
rode at the head of his prisoner column, silent and sad. He as well as all the officers of of his army, were in the full gray uniform of the South
, and though prisoners, their swords still hung in the scabbards at their sides.
Many of them were mounted on the thin steeds that had survived