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[215] enemy's picket-guards. There were six of these, at as many different points, and it needed much adroitness and boldness of action to secure them all without an alarm being made. The plan was for two men to get in rear of each picket, and two to advance upon them quietly in the dark. If one set failed to bag the game, it was thought the other would. And so it proved. The pickets were captured without breaking the stillness of the night with the faintest alarm.

Having secured the outer guards, it was next necessary to capture the reserve guards, who were fifteen in number, and occupied a vacant store in Leedstown, where they slept on their arms, having their horses saddled and bridled, close at hand. The writer of this account led the party advancing to the capture of this reserve, having at his side ‘Pete’ Stewart, an old Mexican soldier, and a tried and trusty scout. From the shadow of an adjacent house, as we drew near to the store, the form of the sentinel was descried under the porch. The moon was just rising, throwing a gleam on the river, the sound of whose flowing only disturbed the perfect stillness of the night. Our pause was but for a moment, when a dash was made for the steps leading up to the door of the store. The startled sentinel ran for the steps, too, without pausing to fire his carbine. He had nearly reached the uppermost step, when ‘Pete’ Stewart, grasping him by his coat-tail, pulled him back. The Union horsemen in the store were made prisoners by the time they had well cast aside the blankets under which they had been cosily sleeping. Indeed, so rapid and sudden had we fallen on the unsuspecting sleepers that some of them were assisted by us in waking, by having their blankets pulled off them by our own hands.

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Mexico (Mexico) (1)
Leedstown (Virginia, United States) (1)

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