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[171] was, with a German-silver key-bugle. Likewise was there a tall[ sergeant, in Sunday best, with General Seth Williams's new damask tablecloth, on an appropriate staff! Thus equipped, and furnished with a large letter, I rode forth. . . . We crossed the rail near Colonel Avery's, rode into the woods and immediately came on the picket reserves of cavalry, where we got a man to guide us to the extreme left of the infantry picket line. We floundered through a little swampy run, brushed through some brush, and came on a little clearing, at the other side of which was a gentleman, with a cocked musket, eyeing us suspiciously, but who withdrew on seeing our color. There we came on what is always a pretty sight, a picket line in a wood. The men are dotted along, ten or fifteen feet apart, with stronger parties on the roads; and you see them indistinctly, as they stand, half-hidden among trees and bushes. I found there Captain Thatcher in command of the picket line. There was some delay here, in sending word to the division commander, and to a battery that was firing. As soon as they were notified, Captain T. and myself, with the flag about five paces ahead, and the bugler behind, walked along the wood-road. Thatcher is a brisk, black-eyed little man, and kept peeping about, through the dense pines, and saying: “We are getting somewhere pretty near them. Wave your flag, Sergeant!” As for myself, I looked with some confidence for a salutation of two or three bullets; but made no observation, as being superfluous under the circumstances. Presently the flag-bearer, who, you may be sure, kept an extremely bright look-out, said: “There's one of 'em!” and immediately waved the emblem of peace in a truly conscientious manner. I looked and saw the main road, and, in an open field beyond, stood a single grey-back, looking dubiously at us, with his rifle ready for

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Horace Kellogg Thatcher (2)
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Martin P. Avery (1)
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