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Incidents of picket life on the Rapidan.

The pickets indulge in the usual badinage of the outposts. One--a Louisianian — asked why we did not throw up some rifle-pits. The answer was: “What for?” “Why, because we might come over and attack you.” “Oh! Is that all?” was the sentry's answer; “come along; we wouldn't throw any thing in your way; it's what we want. Come over and bring all your friends; we shall not stop you. Did you throw up that dirt to prevent our advance? O pshaw! when we advance we'll walk right round them.” One of the rebel artillerymen was anxious to know whether a soldier's pay was good for any thing now. He was told that it would buy thirteen dollars' worth of goods, the same as ever. “Well, I'll tell you what we do with ours,” said he. “We tell off the battery into fives, and play poker till one man out of five gets the money. The winners tell off into fives again, and so at last somebody has enough money to treat his friends.” General Early's headquarters are in a white house near the ford. His portly form, in white shirt and an enormously highcrowned hat, with a feather, is occasionally seen about the opposite shore. It is stated, on the authority of a sergeant, who was down at the river-bank arranging a little matter, in which coffee, tobacco, and a Richmond Examiner figured prominently, that the General himself came down and made this offer: “If any of you Yanks want to trade a first-rate pair of high boots, good leather, and so forth, I'll pay for them in gold.” Whether he has yet achieved the boots, is a matter upon which no testimony has been offered.

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J. H. Early (1)
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