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[173]

But I could not bear the thought of missing a fight, so I went. We were out riding late in the night air, and as the enemy would not attack us, we all returned to headquarters, I feeling much worse.

The next morning I heard that the fight was about to commence, but I very sensibly determined not to go. After the general and his staff had gone I lay in bed with my breakfast near me, thinking about the matter, when I heard the thundering of the artillery not a half a mile off. I could stand it no longer, so jumped up (although I was so weak I could hardly stand), dressed and ordered my horse. Whilst the boy was getting him I was talking to a little girl on the porch, and among other things I asked her: ‘Which she would rather see a prisoner, General Jackson or myself?’ Little did I think whilst uttering these idle words that I would be taken prisoner in less than ten minutes. Well, my horse was brought forth, I mounted him and started for the battle-field.

Port Republic was on my way, and in passing through it I met our cavalry retreating, followed by men, women and children. I ordered the cavalry to halt and tried to rally them, but all in vain. I was so disgusted that I rode on, and, as I saw more cavalry coming, I thought that I would draw my pistol and rally them by force. I rode on rapidly, the cavalry coming closer and closer, cheering, firing pistols, etc., etc. When right upon them (within thirty steps) I discovered that they were the enemy's cavalry. I was surprised that they did not fire on me, so I turned and tried to join them in the charge, thinking thus to deceive them. But they knew by my gray coat that I was a ‘Rebel,’ and I was soon surrounded by them. A Yankee with a sabre above my head ordered me to surrender. I knew that he was a private and refused. I had my hand on my pistol and my spurs to my horse, and I knew that he dared not cut, for I could have shot him easily and would have done so. He therefore allowed his sabre to fall harmless by his side.

A very gentlemanly fellow now rode up and said ‘Sir, I am a commissioned officer, hand me your arms.’ As I was surrounded by a regiment of Virginia (bogus) and Rhode Island cavalry, and seeing that resistance or even hesitation was folly, I, yes I, with all my love for the South and my contempt for the Yankees, handed him my pistol. It was the one Willie gave me and which I have shot at many a Yankee. That, I told him, was all the arms I had. I was then a prisoner, and I bore on with them in the charge. Our Confederate cavalry corps made a stand and drove us (Yankees) back, to my delight, though the balls whistled in rather close proximity to my


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William L. Jackson (1)
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