road forming line parallel with it, and pouring their shot into the poor mules and horses of the team.
I thought now, if this mare is a fool, I am a goner.
But she took the bit very kindly, and in a minute I was on her back.
I looked down and saw I had dropped one of a fine pair of military gloves that somebody had given me, and as a glove in those days bore value not at all commensurate with its present worth in money, I started to get down and rescue it. But never did cavalry arrive so rapidly and in such seeming numbers before.
I only had time to dash out into the woods and make my retreat through them, parallel with the road, as fast as the impediments of riding through the woods permitted.
This, however, was not very fast, and gave me opportunity of remarking again that they were only shooting the horses and mules, and being few in number, had no other idea than obstructing the road and disabling us by destroying the animals.
There were a number of our men rushing back through the woods on line of the road, many of them armed with muskets, and I called their attention to the fact that the Yankees
were few in number and only shooting the teams, and begged them to halt and make a stand and save the train.
One old soldier looked up at me for a minute, in a sort of a dazed way, and said: ‘If you are fool enough to believe that, you stop, I am going on.’
I thought of the stars on my collar and of the little brief authority of command that they had given me for four years, and thought of endeavoring to enforce my words, but the stream of stragglers rushed by, increasing in numbers and making a panic that was irresistable.
In a few minutes we all came out together in the road, a little out of range of the fire, and here a Colonel C——, of the cavalry, stopped in the road, and I with him, thinking that he would be able to exercise some authority and to stay the rout.
But they paid no more attention to him than they did to me. Just then my attention was attracted by a captain and quartermaster, who was making the most urgent efforts and appeals to the men to halt and shoot.
‘Shoot,’ he said, ‘one time, and you will drive them away.’
One man, who seemed inclined to halt and make fight, replied, ‘I have no gun.’
‘There are plenty of guns and ammunition here in my wagon,’ said the captain.
Seeing me about this time, he said: ‘Major
, you have been to the front, you know how few Yankees there are attacking us, speak to the men,’ and then, jumping upon a log or stump or something, he continued his harangue: ‘Stand men!
Stand! Right here!
Five determined men can stop this whole rout.
Stop! For ’