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[229] mysterious character, much used, but, whether justly or not, much less trusted.

The next day we rode forty miles, crossed the Cumberland Mountains at Big Creek Gap, after night, and halted in the valley between there and Pine Mountain, at the house of an Union man. With great difficulty we procured a few ears of corn for our horses, and a cup of milk and crust of corn-bread for ourselves. Spreading our blankets in the piazza of the rickety old house we were soon asleep. At 3 A. M. Brig.-General Davis aroused us with the information that General Heth, a few miles ahead, expected an attack at daylight. We mounted and pushed forward, and a little after sunrise reached Heth's Headquarters beyond Pine Mountain. General Smith, with six thousand men, had followed the road leading up Powells' Valley, some thirty miles to the right, while General Heth, with three thousand men, pursued the more direct route, which leads by Boston to Barboursville, at which point the columns were to unite. Informing General Heth of our anxiety to reach General Smith, especially as Colonel Brent bore dispatches from General Bragg, he advised us to remain with him. He expected to join General Smith in a short time, and being now in the enemy's country, and a very ferocious enemy too, it was imprudent for small parties to separate themselves from the main column.

Here we half seized, our necessities demanding, and half purchased a peck of shelled corn for our horses, and a few cold crusts of bread, and a half cup of milk, which divided between us, our hungry stomachs received with great pleasure, if not entire satisfaction. When we returned to the yard Heth had left, and his troops were filing into the road. Saddling our horses quickly, we galloped forward, and continually informed in reply to our enquiries, that the general was ahead, we passed the entire column without finding him. Still, however, supposing him ahead, and certainly that the advance of the army was covered by the cavalry, we pressed on, until, unwittingly, we had passed for some distance, Heth, cavalry and all.

A little way over the Kentucky line the road leads through a broad, shallow, and very clear mill-stream, with high, precipitous banks, and into a lane, with a corn field on one side and an old unplanted field upon the other. A man was approaching down the lane, with a musket in hand. He seemed somewhat disconcerted when he saw us, moving from side to side of the road, throwing an occasional glance backward, and twisting the gun nervously upon his shoulder, but still approaching. We halted him when he came up, and the following conversation ensued:

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Heth (5)
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