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[223] boats, where an abundance of supplies, both solid and liquid, were obtained and enjoyed by the men. Finally a very suspicious smoke was seen up the river and a gunboat hove in sight, commanded by Lieutenant VanDorn, who at once took in the situation, increased his speed and prepared for action. But he had no sooner come within range of the small arms than volleys were fired into each and every port hole and at the pilot, until they were compelled to surrender, the artillery, at the direction of Colonel Wade, having ‘fired a salute.’ Three of these boats, including the gunboat, were burned, and all the prisoners taken from the several boats were placed upon the largest vessel and sent on their way rejoicing. A short time after this I read what purported to be an account of this action in a Southern paper, the headlines of which characterized Wheeler's Cavalry as ‘Wheeler's Horse Marines.’

As the war progressed, and as our men became accustomed to the ways and tactics of the enemy, who would often times charge upon our outposts immediately upon seeing the picket, with a view of capturing the grand guard or picket reserves, it became seldom that we would lose one of our men in that way. Although it was impossible to mount their horses and form themselves before the enemy would be upon them, each and every man would mount and fly in different directions, in a few moments rallying again at the proper place. As evidence that this was not the result of demoralization or cowardice, I will tell you of an incident in which one of our Alabama boys, not exceeding fourteen years of age, was the principal actor. In front of Luverne, between Murfreesboro and Nashville, a part of the 1st Alabama Cavalry, which was Clanton's old regiment, was on picket duty on the pike. A battalion of Federal cavalry under a gallant officer came up, and upon approaching our picket post he instructed his men that immediately upon the firing of our picket, for every man to rush in and capture his man, so that when the picket fired they all came with a yell and a dash. This little boy, with no arms but an old Austrian rifle, and riding a little gray pony, dashed down a lane leading due south, toward where my own command was on picket. The Federal officer, thinking he had a safe thing, selected the boy as his man, and pursued him down the lane for two or three hundred yards. Finally the little fellow leaped off his pony and over the fence. The Colonel dashed up and demanded his surrender, but the little fellow, with his old Austrian rifle resting on a rail and with his finger on the trigger said: ‘I guess I've got you! I guess I've got you!’ Whereupon he made the Colonel drop his pistol and

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