Well, our sergeant carried us back to the picket lines, and delivered us to General Devens
, who was afterwards attorney general of the United States
He received us courteously, and finding out who we were, called up his surgeon, and we were offered coffee and requested to make ourselves comfortable.
The general then asked me, ‘Why doesn't General Lee
How long is he going to keep up this foolishness?
If he falls back to Lynchburg
, or the mountains, does he not know that he cannot escape?’
I replied that I was not in General Lee
's confidence, nor had I attended a council of war, and that I really was unprepared to say what his intentions were.
He then asked me ‘how many men of all arms General Lee
had left, and how many prisoners he had with him, and what his position was, and what roads bore upon it,’ &c., &c., all questions which I could not answer, nor would have answered if I could.
I did venture to say, however, for mischief, that he had more prisoners than men when I saw him last.
This was received good-humoredly, as was intended, except by a dapper little officer, who said, ‘General, he is lying, he does not want to know.’
I had not often been talked to in that way in my life, and to be thus insulted, a prisoner and my hands tied, I felt myself burn down into my boots.
I suppose I showed it, for not only General Devens
, but one or two of his staff, gave the fellow such a look that he fell back out of decent company, and I was saved the temptation of making myself a fool, which I should probably have done.
But in a few minutes the General
turned us over to a courier, with orders to take us to the rear.
We soon reached the advanced lines, and there we met General Sheridan
, who had apparently been spending the night in a large frame building which looked something like a country church in bad repair.
He was splendidly mounted and a number of his officers with him, his staff I suppose, all well dressed, and with caparisoned steeds, presenting a very different appearance from our poor, broken cavalry.
There was a large body of horse in an adjoining open piece of wood, and as Sheridan
rode up, they were advanced in line.
Some one remarked to us, ‘Now, boys, you are going to see something grand.’
A man near me said it was Sheridan
The infantry, of which there seemed to be a pretty good sprinkling around, jeered the troopers, as our men used to jeer them occasionally, and said, ‘Oh, you will be back pretty soon!’
and ‘pretty soon’ they were, pell-mell, and we were hurried back to the rear