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[97] He was quite exposed. Receiving a report from a staff officer, General Lee gave him a message in reply, and as he started off said to him: ‘You rode up on the wrong side of the hill and unnecessarily exposed yourself. Why did you not come up on the other side?’ The officer said he was ashamed to shelter himself when his commander was so exposed. General Lee remarked to him quite sharply: ‘It is my duty to be here; I must see. Your duty does not require you to see, or to expose yourself when there is no occasion for it. Ride back the way I tell you.’

Near Goode's Bridge he astonished a young staff officer, after receiving a message sent by him, by looking quite fixedly at him and asking if ‘those people surprised your command this morning?’ The officer was taken aback at the question, for he had just made a report from his commander that the troops were in good order, and asked directions for their disposition. He replied no, and asked if any such report had come to him. General Lee replied that he had received no such report, but that ‘judging from appearances something urgent must have prevented you young men about headquarters from making your toilets this morning,’ and he thought it possible that the command might have been surprised. At the same time he pointed to the officer's new cavalry boots, the leg of one being outside of the pants, while on the other the leather was half stuffed inside the pants, making that leg somewhat resemble a huge misshapen bologna sausage. The young officer had not observed this until his attention was called to it, and his face turned blood-red at the rebuke, and he could not conceal his mortification as he saluted and started to return.

General Lee then called him back and said he intended only to caution him as to the duty of officers, especially those who were near the persons of high commanders, to avoid anything on a retreat which might look like demoralization; that he knew he was a good soldier, and he must not take his caution so much to heart. So self-contained and so considerate was this great man of the feelings of others that he paused in the trying moments, when the destiny of a Nation and the fate of a retreating army were engrossing all his care, to soothe the wounded feelings of a young subaltern.

When one of the columns was some distance from Amelia Springs, two men, young and handsome, well mounted and dressed as Confederate officers, joined the troops, and rode some distance with them.

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