One tremendous explosion caused such panic in our little party, that Jack
, who had slept on my blanket at my side, became demoralized and sought individual safety in individual flight.
As he disappeared in the darkness, I never expected to see him again, and never did until after my return some two months later to Petersburg
, when he was the first one of my acquaintances to meet and greet me. His subsequent history, though not without interest of detail, would lead me away from my subject, and henceforth he will appear in this narrative no more.
He was a poor soldier, always left the line when the firing began, impelled by thirst or some other consideration of a personal character; but his services in civil life entitled him, in my belief, to the right of civil sepulture, and you will find his grave in the section marked ‘Claiborne
,’ in the old Blandford Cemetery, and his epitaph in the 3rd chapter of Ecclesiastes, 20th and 21st verses.
All of our party moved off in order except Jack
, and the next morning, about 11 o'clock, we arrived at Chesterfield Courthouse, and found Mahone
's division drawn up in line, at right angles with our road.
It received us with a cheer and opened ranks to let us through.
With these bronzed veterans behind us, and between us and pursuit, we dismissed all fear, and passing a few hundred rods further, we lay down to rest, and to await further orders.
After waiting several hours, my orders came: ‘Take the right-hand road to Goode
's bridge, rendezvous at Amelia Courthouse.
There rations and transportation by rail will await you.’
We recommenced our march, but did not reach Goode
's bridge that night, bivouaced somewhere on the side of the road, and next day made the bridge.
Just before we reached that point, however, we came to a beautiful residence on the side of the road, one of the old-time Virginia
mansions, the seat and embodiment of hospitable invitation and luxurious entertainment, and under some patriarchal trees on the well-kept lawn were seated General Mahone
and staff, evidently awaiting refreshments.
He recognized me and called to me to halt and tie my horse, and come in and get something to eat. My habit of obedience was too firmly fixed, after four years of service, to permit me to refuse, and I dismounted and joined this party.
We discussed the situation with as much freedom as a major-general could afford with a subaltern, but there was no sort of restraint when the buttermilk and ash-cake and fried chicken were brought out under the trees, and we enjoyed the hospitable repast as only soldiers could do, who had ‘had nowhere to sleep, and nothing to eat in four ’