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[103] distressing accounts of suffering of their loved ones at home, and the intuitive knowledge that defeat was inevitable. I remember with sadness, without any feeling of censure, many instances of desertion of as brave men as ever marched to the tap of a drum.

On the 7th of April, about 5 o'clock P. M., a telegram was received by Captain Webb, who was in command, from General Johnston, ordering that all trains north of the Roanoke river be recalled at once, all the artillery that could be moved got on the south side, and such heavy guns in the defences north of the river as could not be moved, be destroyed, and the railroad bridge burned. Steps were at once taken to execute the order, and, by hard service all night, the next morning (Saturday 8th) found everything in the shape of guns, ordnance, quartermaster and commissary stores removed from the north side of the river and delivered in Weldon, and combustibles at once gathered and placed at each end of the railroad bridge to fire it as soon as all the trains were safely over. The bridge, however, was not fired that day; why, I will let Captain Webb speak. I quote from his diary: ‘General Baker came up about 10 o'clock A. M., and ordered me with my battery and Williams' section of artillery across the river again. Upon getting my battery over the river, I put my guns in position along the old line as I thought best, and awaited ulterior orders from headquarters. My only support were the feeble remains of a company of so-called cavalry under Captain Strange. In all the twenty men of his command there was not a single man or officer decently mounted. With my old fiery Bucephalus, ‘Duncan,’ I could have charged and overturned every skeleton of a horse in his company. But the men were all true ‘tar-heels,’ and there was no braver man than Captain Strange.’ On the afternoon of the 10th the artillery was ordered back on the south side, and preparations made to leave Weldon. According to Captain Webb, there were then at that point about five hundred men, including at least seventy-five stragglers, furloughed men, convalescents from the hospitals, and detailed men.

On the 12th the command to leave Weldon was given. Captain Webb was ordered to take charge of the column and start towards Raleigh, keeping as near the railroad as possible. By 10 o'clock A. M., the column was well on its way in good order, the objective being, if possible, to join General Johnston at or near Raleigh. We marched about sixteen miles that day.

For several days previous to our departure, and even while the artillery was on the north side of the river, everything was done to

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