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[13] when the hot fire began. The shells flew very thick and close, and his Staff, who were outside, got under the lee of the house and sat down on the grass. As they sat there, out came General Meade, who, seeing them under such a slender protection against cannon-balls, began to laugh, and said: “That now reminds me of a feller at the Battle of Buena Vista, who, having got behind a wagon, during a severe cannonade, was there found by General Taylor. ‘Wall Gin'ral,’ said he, looking rather sheepish, ‘this ain't much protection, but it kinder feels as it was.’ ” As a point to the Chief's anecdote, a spherical case came through the house at that instant, exploded in their circle and wounded Colonel Dickinson. . . .

I walked over and saw the Provost prisoners, the other evening. If you want to see degraded human nature, there was the chance. There was a bough covering, about forty feet square, guarded by sentries, and under it were grouped some fifty of the most miserable and depraved human beings I ever saw — deserters, stray Rebel soldiers, “bushwhackers” and camp-followers. They sleep on the bare ground with such covering as they may have, and get a ration of pork and biscuit every day. This is only a sort of temporary guardhouse, where they are put as they come in. War is a hard thing. This country, just here, was once all fenced in and planted; now there isn't a rail left and the land is either covered with dried weeds or is turned into a dusty plain by the innumerable trains of horses, mules and waggons.

[That evening there was a report that Lee was falling back. The cavalry were gathered for a reconnaissance in force. And Lyman was detailed to Pleasonton's Staff, to give him his first experience of actual fighting.]

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