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[442]

Burlesson gave his consent, and the guard went with them. The lady at whose residence they visited, knowing the guard's propensity for strong drink, sent for some brandy, and gave him all he wanted. He partook so freely that he was, ere long, so intoxicated as to become drowsy, and finally went to sleep. Taking advantage of the insensible state of the sentinel, they left the house, accompanied by the lady, who showed them a by-path over the mountain, and, after going several miles, returned. To this lady they were indebted for their escape, and had it not been for her stratagem they would have been marched back that night as prisoners.

They first went to Mr. Fleenor's residence, where they were joyfully received, for the family had thought of them as dead, believing they would be murdered by their captors. From there they went to Jonesboro, where they informed the authorities of what had taken place, and furnished a complete list of the names of the bushwhackers. A company of cavalry was sent to capture the gang, Lieutenant Doncaster acting as guide. They experienced considerable difficulty in finding Burlesson, but at last Lieutenant Doncaster, believing that he was on the premises of a certain individual, where he was known to visit, threatened one of the servants considerably if he did not tell where he was concealed. The servant pointed to a building filled with straw. They went to the place and invited Burlesson to come out, Lieutenant Doncaster remarking that it was his turn to ‘smoke.’ On coming out, Burlesson spoke to the Lieutenant, remarking, ‘I am your prisoner. I treated you well when you were a prisoner of mine. I feel that I am in the hands of gentlemen, and am not afraid;’ to which Doncaster replied, ‘No, Captain Burlesson; you are not my prisoner, but a prisoner of the cavalry.’

Captain Burlesson was a very bad man. He had robbed the citizens of their horses, cattle and jewelry, and in the event of their resisting, had been known to burn their houses, and commit many depredations too horrible to mention.

Lieutenant Doncaster, at the head of a squad of cavalry, arrested a Confederate officer whom he believed to belong to some bushwhacking band. Before returning to camp he was released.

On arriving at camp he was put under arrest himself for what he had done, and sent to Wytheville, Va., to General John C. Breckinridge's headquarters. He made a full statement of his adventures to the General, who at once released him, and ordered him to return to his command. General Breckinridge explained to General Hood, by writing on the back of Doncaster's orders, the cause of the Lieutenant's detention in East Tennessee.

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