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[467] against a rushing, overwhelming flood. Now they plodded wearily back, the foe following, to lay down their well-used arms at Hillsboro. Faithful, devoted souls! Who shall tell the story of your ‘high emprise’—of your sufferings and your glory?

Nothing was possible now but for us to show our sympathy and appreciation of their heroism.

Day after day we stood at the gates pouring out quarts of cool buttermilk for the exhausted men, which with cheering words was all we had now to offer. Frequently officers spent the night, while their commands encamped just beyond.

Once, a body of Federal prisoners passed (taken at Bentonville and elsewhere), and held out tempting greenbacks for bread. But bread, alas! was too scarce to be shared save with our own starving soldiers. So they went on to be exchanged soon, and feasted upon ‘the flesh-pots of Egypt.’

On several occasions men were left in our care, unable to go further on the terrible march. Two of these, members of the First South Carolina Cavalry (Colonel Black), remained seven weeks, one quite ill with typhoid fever, and were the ostensible objects of our first visit from what the negroes called ‘Mister Sherman's gentlemen.’ Previous to this, however, were long weeks of suspense. One day we would hear the enemy was within a few miles; the next, that they would not pass this way at all. Again, a neighbor would dash in, declaring with ashen lips: ‘The Yankees are burning L——'s mill;’ and we could actually hear and see them in every passing shadow for several days. Anon we grew careless, and, as the spring came on apace, thought only of life and love, realized only that earth was beautiful and danger impossible. A ‘figure in grey’ rode gallantly through waking dreams, but it was always to glory and victory. Defeat! Death! there was no thought of these.

The two young cavalrymen grew convalescent, and were eager to join their regiment; but such an undertaking was doubtless to run into the teeth of the enemy. So they lingered day after day. Meanwhile, we women busied ourselves in packing away silver, china, &c., &c., which was duly buried, and as duly taken up when the ‘scare’ seemed overpast. Once, when the rumors came thick and fast, the mules and stock and ‘men folk,’ including the two soldier boys, went into the swamps, and camped for several days. Scouts returned to reconnoiter; and after much wasted anxiety and amateur cooking, they came back hungrier, if not wiser men.

But the first of April arrived, and the boys decided at last to start

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