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[259] blinded to some extent by the superior refulgence of “State rights,” and had, in a great measure, lost sight of individual rights. And many were the complaints of those who once possessed property which was not forthcoming, and who refused to be comforted by the reflection that it was all for the good of the sunny South.

Leaving Lebanon at half-past 3, we arrived at Springfield at six o'clock, and there we met many of those belonging to the Union forces which had been captured by the rebels at Lebanon.

These men presented a very sorry appearance when we arrived among them. The number of troops captured by the rebels at Lebanon was about three hundred. Immediately on surrendering, the rebels had made them fall in, and putting a guard around them had forced them to march on foot at a double-quick from Lebanon to Springfield — a distance of fully twelve miles. During the way many of them exhibited signs of giving out, but they were compelled to keep up by their merciless captors. At last one sergeant found it impossible to keep up with the ranks. The guards knocked him down with the buttend of their muskets, and his brains were tramped out by the feet of the horses of the rebel rearguard, and his body left lying in the road. On their arrival at Springfield they were paroled, the Southern chivalry first robbing them of every dollar they had.

We camped on the night of the sixth at eight o'clock, on the Bargetown Road, about six miles beyond Springfield, and left again the next morning at two o'clock, reaching Bargetown at six. Here we found that Morgan had left that place at noon on the day before, going north on the Shepherdsville road. We were joined at this place by General Hobson, with Shackleford's brigade, comprising the Third, Eighth, Ninth, and Twelfth Kentucky cavalry and two pieces of artillery. General Hobson now took command, and continuing our journey we encamped on the night of the seventh about four miles from Shepherdsville. It was at this point that Morgan captured the mail-train on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, and had captured and paroled about, twenty soldiers who were passengers on board the cars. They also robbed all the passengers of any valuables they might have about them, stole all the contents of the mail-bags and appropriated all the express packages that were on board. Here our horses began to give out. We had been in the saddle with hardly any rest since the evening of the fourth of July, and it was more than horse-flesh could endure, so to recruit our horses we went into camp at six o'clock in the evening. On the morning of the eighth we were again on our way at half-past 4 o'clock, General Shackleford's brigade in the advance, and crossed the railroad where the rebels had robbed the mail. They had taken all the letters with them to amuse themselves by reading as they went along, and for twenty-five or thirty miles the road was strewed with fragments of paper — the letters which the rebels had thrown down in the way to become the sport of every breath of air that blew, or to be picked up by any passer by who might chance to come along. As we followed along the road we curiously picked up many of the notes and letters which were scattered so profusely around, and attempted to decipher the writing, an undertaking attended with considerable difficulty, for the writing — not often too distinct — was rendered almost totally illegible by reason of dust and dirt and the trampling of horses' feet. The first we picked out of the mass of fluttering paper commenced with “My dear wife,” and, after a few commonplace remarks, went on to speak of some crushing trial that had lately fallen upon them both in the death of a loved relative, while the writer attempts to impart comfort in the affliction, and to lighten the load of grief, which, he says, he fears is greater than she can bear. The next is altogether different in character. It is a business letter and says: “Inclosed please find one hundred and fifty dollars, which you will please place to my credit.” A third is written in rather a clerical sort of handwriting — at least it appears so to us. It commences very formally with “Madame,” and in it we find that it has become the painful duty of the writer to inform her for whom the letter is intended that her husband “is no more.” That after lingering for many weeks in some hospital, he had quietly breathed his last, with his last breath sending a message to the only woman he loved on earth. The letter covers all the four sides of the paper, but a large part is torn off, and singularly enough we cannot find a single name to give us any clue either to the parties to whom it was addressed, or to the writer of the sad news. A fourth letter is full of hope and joy, and speaks of weddings and dances and balls in a strange sort of jumbled — up way; while another is very sad, and gives a long description of a death-bed scene or a funeral. So they go on, strangely like the ever-changing scenes of every-day life, one day dark and cloudy, the next light and cheerful, and so amusing ourselves with perusing the letters, and reflecting on their contents, the day's march is made. Quietly enough, for the letters seem to have set every one thinking what will be the result of the loss of news. Thinking of children waiting to hear from a parent away off in the armies of the Tennessee. Of a sister watching for news of a dear brother. Of the news of the death of a husband to a newly-made widow, and speculating as to whether the news will ever reach her. So we go on to Laurenceville, about one mile from which place we pass the night. A little tiny stream runs close by our encampment, and I stroll out in the night and throw myself down by its side, and gaze on the little ripples that seem to glide over its surface. It was flowing on so peacefully and calmly in the midst of our warlike movements, that I insensibly catch myself repeating part of Willis's description of the pursuit of King David by his son Absalom, and saying:

. . . . . . . .

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