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1 July 1.
Huddled among the wagons were 10,000 stragglers — for the credit of the nation be it said that four-fifths of them were wounded, sick, or utterly exhausted, and could not have stirred but for dread of the tobacco warehouses of the South. The confusion of this herd of men and mules, wagons and wounded, men on horses, men on foot, men by the road-side, men perched on wagons, men searching for water, men famishing for food, men lame and bleeding, men with ghostly eyes, looking out between bloody bandages, that hid the face — turn to some vidid account of the most pitiful part of Napoleon's retreat from Russia, and fill out the picture — the grim, gaunt, bloody picture of war in its most terrible features. It was determined to move on during the night. The distance to Turkey Island Bridge, the point on James river which was to be reached, by the direct road was six miles. But those vast numbers could not move over one narrow road in days; hence every by-road no matter how circuitous, had been searched out by questioning prisoners and by cavalry excursions. Every one was filled by one of the advancing columns. The whole front was in motion by seven P. M., Gen. Keyes in command of the advance. I rode with Gen. Howe's brigade of Couch's division, taking a wagon-track through dense woods and precipitous ravines winding sinuously far around to the left, and striking the river some distance below Turkey Island. Commencing at dusk, the march continued until daylight. The night wad dark and fearful. Heavy thunder rolled in turn along each point of the heavens, and dark clonds overspread the entire canopy. We were forbidden to speak aloud; and, lest the light of a cigar should present a target for an ambushed rifle, we were cautioned not to smoke. Ten miles of weary marching, with frequent halts, as some one of the mundred vehicles of the artillery train, in our center, by a slight deviation, crashed against a tree, wore away the hours to dawn, when we debouched into a magnificent wheat-field, and the smoke-stack of the Galena was in sight. Xenophon's remnant of the Ten Thousand, shouting, “The seal the sea!” were not more glad than we.
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