But pushing on, we reached Appomattox Courthouse just before sunset, and hearing there was a train of Confederate sick and wounded at the depot on the railroad, some two miles further on, we rode at once to that point. There I succeeded in getting on a few more of our sick and broken down men. I remember Mr. J. J. Cocke amongst them, who was but a boy at the time, though an artillerist. The train got off for Lynchburg safely, not half an hour too soon. We rode back in the direction of the courthouse to the Lynchburg road, where we found some of the artillery going into bivouac, as it was about sunset. Some of our party were for going on to Lynchburg that night, or at least moving on and getting ahead of the artillery, but Dr. Field, Dr. Smith and I, with my faithful Burkhardt, concluded we would lie down and sleep at least for an hour or so. I unsaddled my horse, gave her some provender which Burkhardt had captured, and lay down with my head on my saddle, and was soon asleep and dreaming of better things than my surroundings. I had slept only a very short time, when Burkhardt shook me rudely by the shoulder and cried, ‘Doctor, the Yankees be upon thee.’ I arose quickly, but not so quickly as my companions, for Drs. Smith and Field were fast disappearing through the thick black jack forest, and Burkhardt, who had not unsaddled or tied his fine animal was fast flying up the road towards Lynchburg, whilst coming down the road, which we had just traversed from the depot, was a body of Yankee cavalry, in column, rushing, with yells and clanking of sabres and clouds of dust, right upon me. I had no time, of course, to mount my horse, or even to snatch a haversack and canteen from the pommel of my saddle, but catching up a large shawl, on which I
Thrice happy those whose fate it was to fall,
Exclaims the chief, before the Trojan wall,
Oh! 'Twas a glorious fate to die in fight,
To die so bravely in their parents' sight.
Oh, had I there, beneath Tydides' hand,
That bravest hero of the Grecian band,
Poured out this Soul, with martial glory fired,
And in the plain triumphantly expired,
When Hector fell by great Achilles' spear.Verg. Aeneid, 1.91.
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