I passed over the ground of this fight, as I was making my way southward by night.
I reached the house which had been Kilpatrick
's headquarters at a late hour, and a more dismal, unearthly scene than I beheld it would be difficult to imagine.
The dwelling was entirely deserted.
Perhaps its owner, driven forth from her home with her little ones to make room for the Woman of the Ditch, had perished from hunger and exposure.
At all events it was unoccupied by any living thing; the windows were without sashes, the front door broken from its hinges, and all fences and out-buildings had disappeared.
Near the dilapidated piazza, to the railing of which several horses had been tied on the morning when the corps was stampeded, were some carcasses, and at a few paces distant, where many horses had been fastened to a fence, there were numerous skeletons of the poor brutes.
From these the hides had been stripped and the bones picked bare, doubtless by vagrant curs and predatory vermin from the neighboring swamp.
The human remains had been interred, but rain and wind, assisted probably by animals, had in many instances partially removed from them the earth, so that the fleshless faces peered up at one, and bony hands stretched forth as if to beckon.
The effect was heightened by the faint moonlight.
It was an uncanny place, and the least superstitious would have been likely to have experienced some strange feelings there.
The skeleton hands seemed then, as I said, to beckon.
Since that time I have thought they intended a different meaning; that they sought to implore the living not to forget the dead, but to keep alive forever the glory of each hero who bit the dust,
facing fearful odds
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods.