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[323] troops; but what was our surprise, and almost dismay, when we learned that General Ewell had left the place twenty-our hours before, and quite a large force of Yankees held the town.

It is impossible for me to give you a correct idea of the fatigue and exhaustion of the men and beasts at this time. From great exertion, constant mental excitement, want of sleep and food, the men were overcome, and so tired and stupid as almost to be ignorant of what was transpiring around them. Even in line of battle, in momentary expectation of being made to charge, they would throw themselves upon their horses necks, and even the ground, and fall to sleep. Couriers in attempting to give orders to officers would be compelled to give them a shake and a word, before they could make them understand. This was true of Colonels.

As soon as we reached the town, General Stuart sent an order for its surrender, which was refused. A charge was made, but repulsed by the enemy, who fired upon our men from the windows of brick buildings. After this, General Stuart put his artillery into position and opened a terible cannonade, to which the Pennsylvanians made a feeble reply.

Weak and helpless as we now were, our anxiety and uneasiness was painful indeed. Thoughts of saving the wagons now, were gone, and we began to consider only how we, ourselves, might escape; but this was not so with that ‘lady's man,’ Stuart. He seemed neither to suppose that his train was in danger, or that his men were not in condition to fight. He could not have appeared more indifferent with fresh men and horses and no incumbrance. Most of us were kept in our saddles to fight till 12 o'clock—though neither the prospect of a melee, nor the thunder of artillery, nor the bright red glare of a burning town, ‘in the enemy's country,’ kept me awake that night. About 12 M. we started, the wagons moving behind us, F. Lee in the rear, and traveled till nearly light, when we stopped on the summit of South Mountain. The mountain side was yet illumined by the light from burning Carlisle. Tired—exhausted as I was, I could not but reflect, as I looked back upon the burning town, upon the wickedness, the horrors of this fell war. Frightened women driven with screaming children, in terror from burning homes, could not have suffered much more keenly, than many of the ‘vandal rebels’ who with ‘fiendish delight’ (?) beheld the conflagration in Carlisle that night. Truly,

I was made to feel unhappy, indeed; God grant that terrible war may lead to early peace!


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