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[554] met me on every hand, and though it was long after midnight, yet crowds of men, women and children, of every hue and size, thronged the streets in dense masses, bearing away upon their shoulders all kinds of commissary stores. Whether these things were issued to them, or were stolen by them, I had not the heart to enquire.

Armed men—citizen guards—were marching through the streets and emptying into the gutters all the liquor they could find, whilst beastly sots followed in their wake, and wallowing literally in the mire of inebriation drank deeply from this reeking, seething, poisonous stream; and the fumes thereof ascending, mingled with the curses of strange women, of reeling, staggering, drunken men, of Federal prisoners marching through the streets and shouting forth their jibes and jeers at the downfall of the Southern metropolis, made this a night of horror that never can be forgotten.

All the private dwellings were yet lighted up, and that told of the anguish, the suffering, and the pain of parting then taking place; for from nearly every dwelling a loved one was going forth from his home, and was leaving all behind him. I soon bade my friends farewell, not knowing that I would ever see them again, and rejoined my command on Fourteenth (Pearl) street, near Mayo's bridge.

‘Forward, Third Company!’ We were marching away—away from all we cherished and held most dear on earth. Three times had we, as a company, marched through noble old Richmond since the war commenced, and now we knew that we were going away forever—that another flag would, in a few short hours, float triumphantly over her hills where to-day the Bonnie Blue Flag of Dixie is floating for the very last time.

We lingered not to participate in or to witness the shamefully disgraceful proceedings that took place a short time after we left, but in silence and in sorrow we marched on, on to the sound of the night wind sighing through streets that ere long should ring with the shout of a shameless mob, and roar with the desolating flame of destruction. No woman's hand waved us a parting adieu as we sped onward, no maiden's eye sparkled a farewell and a hope for the future, no matron or sire, bending 'neath the weight of years, bade us God speed, for the weak and defenseless were weeping in their desolated homes, and thus we left them.

All night long we marched, and on the morning of the 3d halted a few miles from Branch's Church, in Chesterfield county.

Went into camp about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, at Tomahawk Church, and remaining there all night, resumed our march at 3 A.

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G. Spencer Mayo (1)
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