“You would like to go home at once, wouldn't you?”
he said, again going to the door and asking Rawlins
, his chief-of-staff, to have leave of absence and pass made out for me. He signed the papers, and thanked me for my promptness.
It was the last time I ever saw Grant
I went to my home in the far West
I was, as a soldier, almost alone; yet in a few days I saw the little fragment of the company, of which I had been a member, returning from the war. They were veterans then.
I, too, was a veteran.
I heard the drums beating, and again I went down to the village, and there saw the “boys” paraded for the last time on the green grass of the court-house yard; on the very spot, indeed, where, four years before, we had been mustered in. There was not so much room required now, as then.
Twenty-seven bronzed faces were all that were left of a hundred stout youths who had stood on that same spot but four short years before.
There was no cheering now, as then; the silence was painful, almost.
Many of the wives, and mothers, and sisters who were there before, were not there again — they could not be. In their desolate homes they sat, and, like Rachel
, wept and would not be comforted.
Their soldiers had been left behind; had been mustered out on the red battle-field many a day before.
I have left my native village since then-I could not stay there.
The recollections that always crowded upon my mind when passing the green court yard made it impossible.