the University of Virginia, besides, I had met him in the army occasionally, and we were well acquainted.
He bade me get down, and, giving my bridle to a soldier, took me in the tent and introduced me to General F——. My reception was decidedly the reverse of cordial, but I was not prepared for what followed.
I told him that, with several surgeons and some sixty or eighty men of an Alabama brigade, I had been ordered to report to him to be paroled, and that the remainder of the party would report soon; that I was fortunate enough to have a blank parole made out by General Mahone
, who had requested me to get his signature to it, as he wished to take me away with him, and had loaned me his horse to ride down to see him. He heard me through, and then, going to the door of the tent and pulling aside the blanket that hung over the entrance, he said, ‘Do you see those men shivering in the rain and scattered about in bivouac under those bushes?
They are the remains of F——'s division.
The Yankee printing press
at the courthouse has broken down, and I cannot tell when I can get any blank paroles, but until every one of those poor men is paroled and sent away, not one of you will leave here.’
‘That is hard upon me, at least, General,’ I said.
‘We have all suffered enough and lost enough to give us some common fellow feeling for each other, and I think we should be glad for anyone to get out of this trouble.
I have a parole filled by General Mahone
, and only wanting your signature to enable me to rejoin him and leave for home.’
‘I shall not do it,’ he said.
I replied, ‘As you please General,’ and turned to leave, knowing that the war was over, also his brief authority was over, except that with which the Yankees
had crowned him by the terms of the surrender, and made up my mind to go with General Mahone
He called me back, and said, ‘Let me see that parole.’
He took it, read it and picking up a pen from his table, wrote, ‘Charles F——, Major-General
That parole is in my possession now. It was enough.
Before he could make up his mind for further negotiations, I was off. But just as I mounted General Mahone
's horse to go back, Captain
P——said to me, ‘Claiborne
, have you another one of those blank paroles?’
I replied, ‘P——, there was not another one to be found at General Mahone
's camp when I left.
Besides, if there were, I have two companions there who would claim them.’
With tears in his voice, he said, ‘That is the way of the world; you have gotten out of trouble, and now you are willing to leave an old schoolmate and comrade perishing of cold and hunger, the streams rising behind ’