had purchased of a Yankee soldier the night before, for a gold ring, and which, tied up in his old pocket handkerchief, had soaked to an extent by the rain which made them edible, if not improved in flavor.
We went out now to try to find our way to General F——. We soon came upon Dr. Smith
, who told us that after parting from us he had spent the night sitting up with his back to a tree.
He was an old campaigner and had done that thing before.
He had found out, somehow, the route to our destination, and we put out through mud and rain.
Coming to the Appomattox
, which was an insignificant branch when we crossed it on the fatal Saturday afternoon before, we found it quite a swollen and angry stream.
But there was neither bridge nor ferry, and so with others, who I suppose also were looking for General F, we went in and waded through without the formality of undressing.
The water did not reach greatly above our knees, and we suffered no inconvenience from our morning bath.
On going about half a mile, I suppose, I came upon a group of Confederates breaking camp and about to commence the journey, no longer march now, home.
As good fortune would have it, I knew them every one, and in company with every one, but one, I had commenced my military career four years before, lacking five days. There were General William Mahone
, Captain Samuel Stevens
, Captain Benjamin Harrison
, Captain John Patterson
. J. A. Johnston
, Major O. H. P. Corprew
, Captain Stone
and one or two orderlies, one especially, a young Kentuckian, who was a nephew of Captain Stone
, had won the soubriquet of the ‘bravest of the brave.’
His name was Blakemore
Another one I did not mention in my last address (he was before me), and one man whose merit can be measured by his modesty.
He had been a soldier in the Mexican
war, before he was old enough, but had seen that service, and come home, and now left with us all of the 4th Virginia battalion, on the 19th of April, 1861, to do battle again for his country, though under a different flag.
He was a quiet, diffident, fighting private of the 4th battalion, afterward of the 12th Virginia, Mahone
's brigade, until he got an ugly wound at Sharpsburg
, in the breast, of course, when he was made a quartermaster-sergeant.
His name-well, so much the worse for you if you do not know him.
As we approached the group, all of whom were mounted and ready to be off, General Mahone
accosted me: ‘Well, where in the h—— have you been?’
‘The last place I was in was a mud hole,’