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[60] were shouting out, “Don't let a soul pass.” I addressed one of them, and said, “Sir, I am a British subject. I am not, I assure you, running away. I have done my best to stop this disgraceful rout, (as I had,) and have been telling them there are no cavalry within miles of them.” “I can't let you pass, sir.” I bethought me of Gen. Scott's pass. The adjutant read it, and the word was given along the line, “Let that man pass!” and so I rode through, uncertain if I could now gain the Long Bridge in time to pass over without the countersign. It was about this time I met a cart by the roadside surrounded by a group of soldiers, some of whom had “69” on their caps. The owner, as I took him to be, was in great distress, and cried out as I passed, “Can you tell me, sir, where the 69th are? These men say they are cut to pieces.” “I can't tell you.” “I'm in charge of the mails, sir, and I will deliver them if I die for it. You are a gentleman and I can depend on your word. Is it safe for me to go on?” Not knowing the extent of the debacle, I assured him it was, and asked the men of the regiment how they happened to be there. “Shure, the Colonel himself told us to go off every man on his own hook, and to fly for our lives!” replied one of them. The mail agent, who told me he was an Englishman, started the cart again. I sincerely hope no bad result to himself or his charge followed my advice; I reached Fairfax Court-House; the people, black and white, with anxious faces, were at the doors, and the infantry were under arms. I was besieged with questions, though hundreds of fugitives had passed through before me. At one house I stopped to ask for water for my horse; the owner sent his servant for it cheerfully, the very house where we had in vain asked for something to eat in the forenoon.

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Winfield Scott (1)
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