A gallant deed and A chivalrous return.
In the movement of Stoneman
's cavalry the advance was led by Lieutenant Paine
, of the First Maine cavalry.
Being separated by a considerable distance from the main body, he encountered unexpectedly a superior force of rebel cavalry, and his whole party were taken prisoners.
They were hurried off as rapidly as possible, to get them out of the way of our advancing force, and in crossing a rapid and deep stream Lieutenant Henry
, commanding the rebel force, was swept off his horse.
As none of his men seemed to think or care any thing about saving him, his prisoner, Lieutenant Paine
, leaped off his horse, seized the drowning man by the collar, swam ashore with him and saved his life, thus literally capturing his captor.
He was sent to Richmond
with the rest of the prisoners, and the facts being made known to General Fitz-Hugh Lee
, he wrote a statement of them to General Winder
, the Provost-Marshal
, who ordered the instant release of Lieutenant Paine
, without even parole, promise, or condition, and, we presume, with the compliments of the Confederacy
He arrived in Washington
on Saturday last.
This act of generosity as well as justice must command our highest admiration.
There is some hope for men who can behave in such a manner.
But the strangest part of the story is yet to come.
, on arriving in Washington
, learned that the officer whose life he had thus gallantly saved had since been taken prisoner by our forces, and had just been confined in the Old Capitol Prison
At the last we heard of him he was on his way to General Martindale
's headquarters, to obtain a pass to visit his beneficiary and benefactor.
Such are the vicissitudes of war. We could not help thinking, when we heard this story, of the profound observation of Mrs. Gamp
: “Sich is life, vich likevays is the bend of hall things hearthlv.”
We leave it to casuists to determine whether, when these two gallant soldiers meet on the battle-field, they should fight like enemies or embrace like Christians.
For our part, we do not believe their swords will be any the less sharp, no<*>
their zeal any the less determined, for this hap-hazard exchange of soldierly courtesy.