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[31] A guide was at the head of each; he had previously gone over the route of march and made himself acquainted with the maps. It was a solemn procession, every regiment coming without noise into its place; one brigade followed another until my late position was denuded of everything but a few skirmishers. The noise of the wagons and batteries in motion had been carefully provided against. As my staff officer, left behind to see the ground cleared and to report to me the final closing up of the rear guard, was congratulating himself that the whole work had been so noiselessly performed that the enemy had no suspicion of its operation, he was startled by a sudden artillery fire from the Confederate side; probably the very stillness of the night exaggerated the sound of the cannon. Round shot broke small trees and dropped branches to the ground, altogether too near the dim roadway which the men were pursuing.

I heard the firing, and for a few minutes feared that there might be a panic among some of our men; but my fears were rather born of previous experiences with other commands than from the knowledge of those Western veterans. At this time the men, without exception, resolutely continued their march.

The cannon shot and shell passed over us and beyond without great damage. A single soldier, however, was killed, and another wounded, having his leg broken. In the retrospect even this comparatively small loss excites our sympathy, for human life is precious.

When day dawned we were beyond the reach of danger from the rear. This march was the first that I had made in conjunction with Kilpatrick. He cleared

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Judson Kilpatrick (1)
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