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[103] away, mounting in haste—and the Confederates next moment coming up, sat down and finished the meal.

With a lunch in our hands, proceeding wearily down the riverside a mile, when we reached the little hilltop at Brunk's garden, we observed two horsemen straight ahead of us across the hollow on the elevation in the field beyond, motionless, observing us. It proved to be their outpost.

“They look like our men,” N. said. ‘Hold my rein, and we shall soon see.’ Dismounting, he took deliberate rest and aim at them against the garden fence. The men did not move for this. The distance was probably 175 yards. Then after some delay, he pulled trigger. The cap had only exploded with the usual sharp report. Still the men looked like statues.

“There is something more in this than we see,” I said; ‘get on your horse.’ He appeared to feel so, too, and just as he sprung into his saddle, out into the road fifty yards away down in front of us, in the hollow from behind outbuildings or trees, sprang a dozen men, bringing up their pieces as they sprang, and fired point-blank at us.

A swish of balls tore past us as we put spurs to our horses. And looking over our shoulders as we disappeared from them behind the hill, we saw them ‘put their scrapers to it,’ to reach the top of the hill and give us another volley.

We lost no time. We hurried to put as much distance between us as we could before the second salute, which did come, and in a very brief space of time, we thought.

Well, we must cross the river at a higher ford. And so, crossing at Alger's about dark, we threaded our way past Squire Will's and on down northward, pursuing private ways.

On our way in the darkness at one place there shone out a bright light through an open hall door, the door being cut across the middle, the lower half of it closed. Hitching and tip-toeing up, half expecting a Yankee visitor inside, camp sounds being quite distinct to our right, we found only an elderly man, his wife, and grown daughter.

But the Yankees had been there. The good wife was still lamenting her losses. She sat there telling how they went through her bureau drawers, removing her pipe now and then and spitting viciously back upon her carpet, forgetting in her delirium, we suppose, the large blazing hearth just in front of her. I do not think she had a barn to lose; but this bureau was her grief. Every heart knows its own bitterness. For the time it eclipsed the awful calamity


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