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[172] any emergency. I told the bugler to blow a parley, which he did in very good style, while I advanced to call to the solitary sentry; but the effect of the bugle was most marvel-lous — quite as when “he whistled shrill and he was answered from the hill.” In an instant, a line of some seventy-five men rose, as if out of the ground. It was their pickets, who had been concealed in little holes, dug in the slope of the gentle hill. One of them laid down his musket and came forward, when I asked for an officer; whereat, he touched his hat (probably awestruck by my cotton gloves) and returned to fetch one. Then came a red-faced captain, who received my despatch, and a bundle of letters from Rebel prisoners, and promised a speedy answer. So the flag was stuck up on a fence and we waited. In a few minutes the commander of the pickets hastened out to do me honor--Major Crow, of Alabama, a remarkably bright, nice-looking man. We exchanged compliments and newspapers, and he entertained me with an amusing account, how he had gone on a “leave” to north Alabama, and how our cavalry suddenly rushed into the town, whereupon he ascended briskly into the belfry of the court-house,through the slats of which he beheld a large number of his friends gobbled up and marched off, while he himself nearly froze to death with the extreme cold! By this time we had the variety of a visitor on horseback, Colonel Ring, a handsome man, who was curious about the negro troops and said, with an honesty unmistakable, that he would not be a bit afraid to fight them, one against two. They, however, said nothing at all unpleasant or rude. The next comer was apparently a Staff officer, a young man of rather a sour countenance, with a large pair of spurs. He brought a message that we should immediately retire from the lines, and hostilities would then recommence, till the answer


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