month prior to this march; and in the issue we drew everything on the list — watering-bridles, lariat ropes, and pins — in fact, there was nothing on the printed list of supplies that we did not get. Many men had extra blankets, nice large quilts presented by some fond mother or maiden aunt (dear souls), sabers and belts, together with the straps that pass over the shoulders, carbines and slings, pockets full of cartridges, nose bags and extra little bags for carrying oats, haversacks, canteens, and spurs — some of them of the Mexican pattern as large as small windmills, and more in the way than the spurs of a young rooster, catching in the grass when they walked, carrying up briers, vines, and weeds, and catching their pants, and in the way generally — curry-combs, brushes, ponchos, button tents, overcoats, frying-pans, cups, coffee-pots, etc. Now the old companies had become used to these things and had got down to light-marching condition gradually, had learned how to wear the uniform, saber, carbine, etc.; but my company had hardly time to get into proper shape when “the general” was sounded, “boots and saddles” blown. Such a rattling, jingling, jerking, scrabbling, cursing, I never heard before. Green horses — some of them had never been ridden — turned round and round, backed against each other, jumped up or stood up like trained circus-horses. Some of the boys had a pile in front on their saddles, and one in the rear, so high and heavy it took two men to saddle one horse and two men to help the fellow into his place. The horses sheered out, going sidewise, pushing the well-disposed animals out of position, etc. Some of the boys had never ridden anything since they galloped on a hobby horse, and they clasped their legs close together, thus unconsciously sticking the spurs into their horses' sides. Well, this was the crowd I commanded to mount on the morning I was ordered by General Smith to follow him. We got in line near headquarters, and when we got ready to start we started all over. He left no doubt about his starting! He went like greased lightning! In less than ten minutes Tenth New York cavalrymen might have been seen on every hill for two miles rearward. Poor fellows! I wanted to help them, but the general was “On to Richmond” ; and I hardly dared look back for fear of losing him. I didn't have the remotest idea where he was going, and didn't know but he was going to keep it up all day. It was my first Virginia ride as a warrior in the field. My uneasiness
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.