History of Lane's North Carolina brigade
March to Jarratt's Station and back.
During the winter of 1864-5, about the time General Early
returned from his Valley campaign, the Federal
cavalry made a raid on the Petersburg and Weldon railroad, and our brigade formed a part of the force sent to Jarratt's Station.
On our march to that point we suffered intensely from the hail and the snow, and a high and bitter cold wind.
When we reached the station the enemy had retired, and we had to return to our winter quarters over the hard frozen ground.
On our return one of our brigade, seeing a barefooted Floridian slowly picking his way over the frozen ground, left ranks, and approaching him, said: “Look here, mister, I don't know who you are, but I can't stand that.”
Taking off his knapsack, he took out a pair of new shoes, put them on, and handed his old ones, a very good pair, to the poor fellow, with the remark: “Here, take these, and I will wear my new ones which I drew just before leaving camp.”
The bare-footed and sore-footed rebel from the “Land of flowers” soon had them on, and the kind-hearted “Tar heel” was cheered by his gallant comrades as he returned to ranks.
I was sitting by a fire on the roadside, to see that my command was properly closed as it marched by, when two thinly-clad and sickly-looking soldiers came up to warm their feet.
Their toes were all exposed, the uppers of their shoes being ripped from the soles.
I soon found out that one of them was from East Florida
and the other from Middle, and that both were disgusted with Virginia
on account of the cold.
When I informed them that I had once lived in West Florida
, one of them said: “Mister
, ain't Florida
a great place?
There the trees stay green all the time, and we have oranges and lemons, and figs and bananas, and it is the greatest country for taters
you ever did see.”
The following will speak for themselves: