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[181] to enter the house, the two “brave survivors” instinctively and respectfully, venerating the approaching man, determined to give him and his companions the porch. As they were executing a rather rapid and undignified flank movement to gain the right and rear of the house, the voice of General Lee overhauled them thus: “Where are you men going?” “This lady has offered to give us a dinner, and we are waiting for it,” replied the soldiers. “Well you had better move on now — this gentleman will have quite a large party on him to-day,” said the General. The soldiers touched their caps, said “Yes. Sir,” and retired, somewhat hurt, to a strong position on a hen-coop in the rear of the house. The party then settled on the porch.

The General had of course no authority, and the surrender of the porch was purely respectful. Knowing this the soldiers were at first hurt, but a moment's reflection satisfied them that the General was right. He no doubt had suspicions of plunder, and these were increased by the movement of the men to the rear as he approached. He misinterpreted their conduct.

The lady of the house (a reward for her name!) hearing the dialogue in the yard, pushed her head through the crack of the kitchen door, and as she tossed a lump of dough from hand to hand and gazed eagerly out, addressed the soldiers: “Ain't that old General Lee?” “Yes, General Lee and his son and other officers come to dine with you,” they replied. “Well,” she said, “he ain't no better than the men that fought for him, and I don't reckon he is as hungry; so you just come in here. I am going to give you yours first and then I'll get something for him!”

What a meal it was. Seated at the kitchen-table, the large hearted woman bustling about and talking away, the ravenous tramps attacked a pile of Old Virginia hoecake and corn-dodger, a frying pan with an inch of gravy and slices of bacon, streak of lean and streak of fat, very numerous. To finish — as much rich buttermilk as the drinkers could contain. With many heartfelt thanks the survivors bid farewell to this immortal woman, and leaving the General and his party in quiet possession of the front porch, pursued their way.

Night found the “survivors” at the gate of a quite handsome, framed, country residence. The weather was threatening, and it was desirable to have shelter as well as rest. Entering and knocking at the door they were met by a servant girl. She was sent to her mistress with a request for permission to sleep on her premises.

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Fitzhugh Lee (3)
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