This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 but I pressed on with Secretary Reagan and my personal staff. It was a bright moonlight night, and just before day, as the moon was sinking below the tree-tops, I met a party of men in the road, who answered my questions by saying they belonged to an Alabama regiment; that they were coming from a village not far off, on their way homeward. Upon inquiry being made, they told me they had passed an encampment of wagons, with women and children, and asked me if we belonged to that party. Upon being answered in the affirmative, they took their leave. After a short time I was hailed by a voice which I recognized as that of my private secretary, who informed me that the marauders had been hanging around the camp, and that he and others were on post around it, and were expecting an assault as soon as the moon went down. A silly story had got abroad that it was a treasure train, and the auri sacra fames had probably instigated these marauders, as it subsequently stimulated General J. H. Wilson, to send out a large cavalry force to capture the same train. For the protection of my family I traveled with them two or three days, when, believing that they had passed out of the region of marauders, I determined to leave their encampment at nightfall, to execute my original purpose. My horse and those of my party proper were saddled preparatory to a start, when one of my staff, who had ridden into the neighboring village, returned and told me he had heard that a marauding party intended to attack the camp that night. This decided me to wait long enough to see whether there was any truth in the rumor, which I supposed would be ascertained in a few hours. My horse remained saddled and my pistols in the holsters, and I lay down, fully dressed, to rest. Nothing occurred to rouse me until just before dawn, when my coachman, a free colored man, who faithfully clung to our fortunes, came and told me there was firing over the branch, just behind our encampment. I stepped out of my wife's tent and saw some horsemen, whom I immediately recognized as cavalry, deploying around the encampment. I turned back and told my wife these were not the expected marauders, but regular troopers. She implored me to leave her at once. I hesitated, from unwillingness to do so, and lost a few precious moments before yielding to her importunity. My horse and arms were near the road on which I expected to leave, and down which the cavalry approached; it was therefore impracticable to reach them. I was compelled to start in the opposite direction. As it was quite dark in the tent, I picked up what was supposed to be my ‘raglan,’ a waterproof, light overcoat, without sleeves; it was subsequently found to be my wife's, so very like my own as to
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.