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[176] was heard in the distance; the young lady bringing me news from time to time. Finally she came up and told me (in fact I heard them) that the Yankee wagons were coming back. She said (and I thought, too,) that the Yankees were beaten.

I listened, and it seemed that the artillery then were getting further off. My spirits fell, but it was momentary only, for the wind varied around again, and I saw that they were nearer.

Then confusion began. Wounded Yankees were being brought in. Ambulances were rolling to and fro and I could see from the expression of the faces of the attendant guard that something was wrong. They would, too, occasionally say, ‘They are too strong for us,’ etc., etc.

Just about this time a Yankee surgeon came in and examined me—groaning terribly—and he pronounced me unfit to be moved.

They then tried to make me take the parole ‘not to take up arms against the United States until duly exchanged.’ This I refused very feebly to do. My refusal exasperated them, and they said that I should go if it killed me. But they were warned by the artillery, which was thundering ‘nearer, clearer, deadlier than before.’ A dismounted dragoon rushed in and announced their troops beaten and the Rebels in hot pursuit. They all rushed headlong from the room. The rattle of the musketry for the first time could be heard, and directly the Yankees began retreating by. A regular Manassas stampede followed. My guard, paralyzed with fear, was afraid to go out—afraid to stay. I still played my role, grunting and groaning, but awaiting the auspicious moment to seize him.

Miss Ergenbright rushed up and told me that Colonel Carroll, with the Federal cavalry covering the retreat, was now opposite the house and that he would come up and tell me ‘good bye.’ Whilst I was waiting for him, Miss Ergenbright came in again, and with joy in every lineament of her face cried, ‘Our cavalry are here, right out at mother's garden! Get up, you are safe! Safe!’

A terrible fire from our cavalry carbines verified the truth of her assertion—the balls whistled by the windows, and I jumped up and dressed. Carroll hallooed out, ‘Tell Willis his cavalry is too close, I can't come up. Good bye!’ Poor fellow! He was wounded a minute afterwards, and was rapidly carried off by two of his troopers.

I ran out, took my guard prisoner, and found that an adjutant of an Ohio regiment, who had pretended to be my friend the night before, had taken my three-hundred-dollar horse, with my saddle, bridle, shawl, etc., etc.


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