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[183] the very shore, and scrambled out. The day was very bleak; and after crossing over the river we halted for two hours in a very comfortless house, where Van Dorn made an ineffectual effort to dry his clothes, which resulted in the severest attack of chill and fever I ever saw. It clung to him throughout the campaign, and except when in the presence of the enemy, made him quake as Cassius tells us Caesar did.

I revert to this whole march as peculiarly devoid of interest or pleasure. The country was monotonous and unpicturesque, while some of the people were ignorant of the causes and objects of the war and unsympathetic with us; but there were many honorable exceptions to this, and every night of our five days trip we received hospitable entertainment in the house of an Arkansas planter; and every night we each slept in a feather bed, which closed about us like a poultice and drew out all the soreness of the sore bones and the saddle-galls which our fifty miles' ride had left with us. After a lifetime of experience in the cavalry service, I then discovered in a feather bed the only panacea for a jaded horseman's ills.

Although I had not made a day's march in the saddle for months prior to our trip across Arkansas, and although every day we trotted from fifty to fifty-five miles, on leaving our feather beds at dawn for our saddles, we found all the stiffness and soreness had been drawn out of us, and we were as fresh and nimble as if we were just setting out.

The United States War Department ought to know about this, and all the cavalry ought to sleep in feather beds: no man can get good rest on the bare ground. And “post traders” would make great profit in feathers if the constituted authorities would only adopt them.

We rode into Van Buren on the evening of February 28th, and next morning, March 1st, left Van Buren for Price's camp in Boston mountains, distant about thirty miles.

The weather was bitter cold, and all day we rode over an ascending mountain road until dark, when we came to the little farm house in which the leader of the Missourians had made his headquarters.

I was much impressed by the grand proportions and the stately air of the man who up to that time had been the foremost figure of the war beyond the Mississippi.

General Price was one of the handsomest men I have ever seen.

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