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[45] United States I would let them go; and to this they agreed eagerly.

Holding up my right hand, and removing my cap, they imitated my example, uncovered their heads, raised their hands, and with a solemn look, that would well become a court room, waited for me to administer “ the oath.” I had joked them far enough, however, and not wishing to be guilty of blasphemy by administering an obligation I had no authority to require of them, I told them that I would rely upon their honor, but they must do nothing toward pursuing me, or giving information concerning my whereabouts; and I then told them to “go in peace.”

The next man I met was an old citizen, riding a very spirited horse, and dressed in a suit of butternut-colored homespun. Tall, thin featured, and gaunt, he was the very picture of a secesh planter. I stopped him, and inquired the way to Camargo; he pointed to the road he had just left, and told me to follow that. I now told him I was a confederate officer, and that I had orders from General Beauregard to gather up all the stragglers I could find, and bring them forthwith to Corinth; that we were expecting a great battle there with our “ detestable foe,” the Yankees, and that it was absolutely necessary for every one to be at his post.

“ You will,” said I, “ do me a favor and your country good service by giving me the names of all soldiers who are at home without leave in your neighborhood.”

“Certainly, sir,” he replied; “ I will do so with pleasure; and if I had time,” he added, “I would go with you, and help to find them.”

I then drew out a note-book, and wrote down each

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