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[33] should I send? Whom could I trust with my mule? Were my own agent honest, the whole country was full of stragglers and Yankees, who had the most peculiar and narrow idea in reference to the sanctity of personal property, and especially if that property had its form in the investment of horse or mule flesh.

However, I soon met a comrade, just back from prison, P— S—, impecunious and seedy, and I said to him, ‘Could you go to Amelia county and bring me a mule and buggy? You would have to walk, of course, but you could ride in a buggy back.’ He replied, ‘Would the job be worth five dollars?’ I said that I thought so. ‘Have you got the money to pay in advance?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Then it is a bargain.’ He was light of baggage, and as soon as he replenished his commissariat he was off.

In four days he returned, and driving up to an office which I had improvised on Bank street, he called out, ‘Here's your mule,’ and there he was, greatly improved and fattened, but his personal identity was unquestionable. Whose personal property he was, was a question not so easily settled. He was an asset of a broken concern, the Confederate Government, which had gone into the hands of a receiver, and many representatives of that receiver, in the shape of Yankee quartermasters, &c., lined the streets. I really had some conscientious scruples on the subject myself for which some of my old comrades jeered me, and I thought I would inquire amongst ‘my friends the enemy,’ stating a supposed case.

I did so, selecting as an umpire an officer whom I did not know, but who seemed a friendly sort of a fellow. He paid me a doubtful compliment in replying, ‘If you have got a mule of that sort, and don't sell him at once and put the money in your pocket, you are a bigger fool than I take you to be.’ I acted on his suggestion promptly; sold my mule for seventy-five dollars (no man asked for a bill of sale or guaranty in those days), my buggy for seventy-five additional, and bought a horse, saddle and bridle, and carried the horse in the back lot to my office.

Before very long several lewd fellows in blue, of the baser sort, came in and said I had stolen a horse. On taking them to see him, however, he did not quite come up to their idea of plunder, and the spokesman said, ‘That is not the horse.’ There was an excellent saddle blanket, though, with the fixtures, and he maintained that it was his, and that I did steal that, but I talked him out of that idea, an accusation of stealing was not matter for fighting under the peculiar

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Amelia (Virginia, United States) (1)

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