rode suddenly out of the woods on to his picket-post at Scott
's dam, just above Banks' Ford.
A Federal soldier was nearing the south bank of the river, newspaper in hand.
The soldier reluctantly came ashore, insisting that he should be allowed to return; the Confederate
pickets had promised it. ‘Yes,’ was the reply, ‘but they violated orders, and you violated orders on your side when you came over, and I happen to know it. Orders must be obeyed.
You are my prisoner.’
the soldier, who was a big, manly fellow, stood straight as an arrow, looked the officer in the face, and with tears in his eyes, said: ‘Colonel
, shoot me, if you want to, but for God's sake don't take me prisoner.
I have been in the army only six weeks. I have never been in battle, and if I am taken prisoner under these circumstances, I will never get over it—it will always be believed that I deserted.’
the officer hesitated for a moment, and then said, ‘give me that paper and go, and tell your people you are the last man that will ever come over here and get back.’
such an incident at the outset of the war would have been inconceivable.
it was in this spirit of kindly regard for each other that the war between the two armies went on, from Fredericksburg
It manifested itself with increasing tenderness after every bloody battle.
It inspired Grant
when he said to Lee
, ‘your men will need their horses to make a crop.’
it animated Grant
's soldiers when they gave no cheer at the surrender, and when they divided their rations with the men who, in tears, laid down their arms.
It did not die when the Confederates
accepted the results of the war.
time has only hallowed the memory of the glorious manhood displayed in those days by the men of both armies.
The soldiers, had their sentiments prevailed, would soon have bound up the wounds of war, as they did those received in battle.
But politicians, for a time, interfered.