, Colonel Harnden
left one officer and thirty men, with orders to scout the country in all directions for reliable information in regard to the route which Davis
With the remainder of his small command, he continued the march till the next evening, reaching Dublin
at about seven o'clock. During the night and day he had sent out scouts and small parties on all the side roads, in the hope of finding the trail of the party for whom he was looking; but nothing of importance occurred until after he had bivouacked for the night.
The white inhabitants of Dublin
expressed entire ignorance and indifference in regard to the movement of important rebels, but were unusually profuse in their offers of hospitality to Colonel Harnden
This being a trait in Southern character which the Colonel
had never seen manifested so decidedly before, its exhibition at that time and place aroused his suspicions, and they were strengthened by the unusual commotion among the colored people.
He, therefore, declined all offers of hospitality, and bivouacked with his command in the outskirts of the village, taking precautionary measures to ascertain, if possible, what strange thing had happened in that vicinity.
Although he displayed great tact and vigilance, he gained no valuable intelligence till about midnight, at which time he was aroused by a negro man, who had stolen secretly, at that late hour, to his camp, for the purpose of telling him that Davis
, with his wife and family, had passed through Dublin
that day, going south, on the river road.
The negro reported that he had assisted the party in question to cross from the east to the west side of the river, that they had eight wagons with them, and that another party, without wagons, had gone southward on the other side of the Oconee river
His information seems to have been of the most explicit and circumstantial character.
He had heard the lady called “Mrs. Davis
,” and a gentleman, riding a “spirited bay horse,” spoken of as “President Davis
,” adding that “Mr. Davis
” had not crossed the river at the regular ferry with the rest of the party, but had gone about three miles lower down, and crossed on a small flatboat, and rejoined the party with the wagons near the outskirts of the town, and that they had all gone toward the south together.
This colored man had evidently made careful and discreet observation of all that took place, and told his story so circumstantially that Colonel Harnden
could not help believing it. The ferryman was called up, and examined, but, either through stupidity or design, succeeded in withholding whatever he knew in regard to the case.
But, in view of the facts already elicited, after detailing Lieutenant