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[138] our party. After a short conference with Randolph and myself as to the most suitable men for the specific work before us, George O'Bannon, Charles Vest, George Smith, Haney, an ex-Lieutenant in the regular army, and George Radcliffe were detailed from those left in Virginia. Straws were drawn to determine who should go after the detail. He who drew the longest straw should enjoy this prerogative. Before the straws were drawn, however, Randolph and I held a hurried council of war and determined that in the event of the longest straw falling to the ‘commander,’ I should take his place. As fate decreed it and we anticipated, the duty fell upon him. And he, as though there was an exquisite pleasure in store for him, set about to perform it. Long, by order, was bringing his boat from its place of concealment, and the Lieutenant was just in the act of boarding the little craft, when our attention was called to two gentlemen approaching us from the direction of Port Tobacco, driving a pair of splendid black horses. They proved to be friends of the Lieutenant from the latter place, whom he received most cordially. Quite a lengthy confidential chat followed, for they had much in common to interest each other; during which time Randolph and I looked the horses over.

They were indeed things of beauty, perfect at every point and shone like two blackheart cherries, altogether tempting to a horseman enough to make one break the commandments, indeed I fear I did commit a misdemeanor to the extent of feeling how I could adapt myself to the one on the near side. The other, John Randolph eyed most covetously. Seeing that John was sinking as deep in the mud as I was in the mire, I whispered: ‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's horse,’ but this gentle reminder of the scriptural injunction did not remove the mote from John's eye. Here the Lieutenant and his friends joined us, leading to an episode that might prove interesting. After the usual introductory remarks on such occasions a significant ‘black bottle’ was brought from its place of hiding in the corner of the buggy and introduced to the armed presence, it made the diplomatic bow of a courtier, and with an air of suspicion asked why this armed force on the sacred ground of the grand old Commonwealth of Maryland. After being assured by the ‘commander’ that our visit to Maryland was of a friendly character, most cordial relations were established between us at once. But all pleasures must have an ending—a military necessity confronted us, and Bowie was not one to sacrifice duty upon the altar of pleasure.

He now bade his friends good-bye and ordered Long to bring his


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