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One of the latter asked me to do something for him. I told him I would very soon, making this promise only to encourage him, for I could really do nothing for lack of authority as well as lack of means. I asked his name and was rather astonished when he said he was General Miles' adjutant-general, and that his name was Boyd, as I now remember it. A response to my call in front took my attention, though I remember that the wounded officer said he had been shot through the thigh.

I advanced some distance and met a very handsomely-dressed Federal officer. We stopped in front of each other, about seven or eight feet apart. I soon recognized the fact that my worn Confederate uniform and slouched hat, even in the dim light, would not compare favorably with his magnificence, but as I am six feet high I drew myself up as proudly as I could and put on the appearance, as well as possible, of being perfectly satisfied with my personal exterior. The officer spoke first, introducing himself as General Seth Williams, of General Grant's staff.

After I had introduced myself he felt in his side pocket for documents, as I thought, but the document was a very nice-looking silver flask, as well as I could distinguish. He remarked that he hoped I would not think it was unsoldierly courtesy if he offered me some very fine brandy. I will own up now that I wanted that drink awfully. Worn down, hungry, and dispirited, it would have been a gracious God-send if some old Confederate and I could have emptied that flask between us in that dreadful hour of misfortune. But I raised myself about an inch higher, if possible, bowed, and refused politely, trying to produce the ridiculous appearance of having feasted on champagne and pound cake not ten minutes before, and that I had not the slightest use for as plebian a drink as ‘fine brandy.’

He was a true gentleman, begged pardon, and placed the flask in his pocket again without touching the contents in my presence. If he had taken a drink, and my Confederate olfactories had obtained a whiff of the odor of it, it is possible that I should have ‘caved.’ The truth is, I had not eaten two ounces in two days, and I had my coat-tail then full of corn, waiting to parch it as soon as an opportunity might present itself. I did not leave it behind me, because I had nobody I could trust it with.

As an excuse which I felt I ought to make for refusing his proffered courtesy, I rather haughtily said that I had been sent forward only

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Seth Williams (1)
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