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 put the force in good marching condition. Unfit and worthless animals connected with the artillery, quartermaster and commissary departments, were condemned, and either sold or given away. To supply their places, squads of mounted men were detailed to make detours through the adjacent farms and plantations, to impress horses and mules. The extra men of the command were parcelled out and assigned to the different regular organizations, and everything in the way of stores sent off by rail up the Raleigh and Gaston railroad. The bridge, however, remained in statu quo, and was not burned until the night of the 13th, two days after we had marched away. One of the duties imposed upon the men of our battery, just before leaving Weldon, was the collection and destruction of boats along the river, so that, upon the burning of the bridge, communication with the north side might be effectually cut off. Perhaps it was a precautionary measure that could have been very safely dispensed with; and when I recall my experience in the performance of that duty, I am strongly inclined to that opinion. In company with a mountaineer, who knew nothing of boat craft, I was sent up the river for that purpose. After proceeding about half a mile above the bridge, we came across a boat; but the owner, who doubtless had taken the alarm, had hid the poles with which to propel it. Nothing daunted, we improvised the best we could, and started down the river. Tempted by the sight of some fish upon a slide near by, we essayed to cross over and secure them, and had almost reached the prize when my companion's pole broke, and away we went down the rapids. We fortunately passed the worst safely, and by dint of extra exertion reached the shore; but for a few moments there were two badly scared navigators. The rest of the trip to the point we were ordered to bring the boats was made by swinging around, one of us in the stern and the other at the bow, alternately catching hold of and turning loose the bushes along the bank. The scenes in and around Weldon these few days were heartrending. As early as the 8th the citizens in the country around, especially on the north side of the river, became panic-stricken, and came crowding into the town, imagining the direst calamities would befall them upon the withdrawal of the troops. We could but remember the kind and hospitable treatment these good and loyal people had always extended to Confederate soldiers, and were deeply touched at their distress. But some of us, who had witnessed similar scenes, took comfort in the thought that it would not be half as bad as they imagined. I remember the confusion and consternation in
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