The next day we reached Harrisonburg
, and about the time of setting sun, General Jackson
called for me. The heavens were covered with black clouds, and the rain was descending in torrents.
The General handed me a paper from under his rubber cape, and requested me to take it to General Ewell
Surprised to hear that Ewell
was in the vicinity, I innocently asked where I would find him?
He quietly replied that he was on the other side of the Blue Ridge Mountains
, somewhere near Culpeper Courthouse, and while my heart stood still with amazement, he told me the contents of the paper, and added that as it was very important, he did not care to send it by a courier, and wanted it delivered by daylight in the morning.
For a moment I was stampeded, paralyzed.
I had never been over a foot of the intervening country, had only a vague idea that Culpeper
was somewhere beyond the mountains, but how to get there I could not imagine.
And then night was upon us, it was raining like the deluge, and I had already ridden to and fro that day about twenty-five miles. But a young man soon rallies, and I quickly pulled myself together.
I was being weighed in the balance, right there, and I determined to throw all my weight in the scales.
‘General, I will start at once if I can get a horse.’
‘Take my mare,’ said generous Kidder Meade
, of the staff, ‘and strike for Stanardsville