if looking out for news.
We approached him, and, after getting within ten or fifteen paces, were halted, and brought in range of a very ugly looking navy revolver.
Mentioning the fact that we were friends, and only three lost Confederate surgeons looking for Lee
's lines, and asking very naively in what direction they were, he pointed to the direction which we supposed, and we started to go, when we received another ‘halt,’ accompanied this time with an ominous clicking of the weapon in his hand, and a request ‘to come forward.’
We did so, and found that our vidette wore a different uniform from our own, and that we had been taken in. He gave a curt order, ‘right about face—march—quick.’
We obeyed promptly, and strode forward in the opposite direction to Lee
's lines, he on horseback, and selecting me as ‘next man,’ and keeping his pistol very disagreeably near my head.
I ventured to remark that we were unarmed, and that I thought it not at all necessary that we should be kept quite so closely covered by his weapon, but he made no reply.
We went hurriedly on over the rough ground, his pistol bobbing up and down near the right side of my head, and I really apprehended some danger, and said, ‘Sergeant
, you will shoot me presently.’
He replied very cheerfully that he did not care a d—n if he did. To which I said, ‘I do—I care very particularly.
It would be very unpleasant and a very inglorious death.’
But he did not change his position, and I saw that I had to change my tactics, or that any little irregularity in the motion of his horse might send a bullet through my brain.
So I reopened my conversation on a different scale, and said, ‘Sergeant
, those are poor spurs you wear for so fine a trooper.
I have in my overcoat pocket a beautiful pair of spurs, made out of copper taken from the old Merrimac
your people sunk in the Gosport Navy Yard
If you will let me stop and get at them, I would like to make you a present of them.’
He smiled and said, ‘all right.’
I took them out and handed them up to him, and he put them in his pocket, and the pistol back in the holster.
I had valued those spurs very highly.
They were made, as I said, of copper taken from the old Merrimac
; made in the quartermaster department in Norfolk
, under care of Captain Samuel Stevens
, A. Q. M., and I had removed them from my feet the night before to save them in case of my being captured, and now I had just used them to save my life.
I had little idea of what would be their destination, when I used to prance with them on inspection days, when we played soldier, the first year of the war, at the entrenched camp below Nor-folk.