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[159] office and received our discharge from the hospital, with ‘permission to leave the city.’

On going out into the street it appeared as if the final day of doom was upon us. The air was filled with smoke and sparks, and the darkness of twilight was over and about the city. Stores were being broken open and rifled; dead men—shot down in the attempt to rob—were lying at intervals, while negroes fought over barrels of provisions that had been rolled from burning warehouses. Mingled with the roar of flames came the appalling crash of exploding magazines and the rumble of falling walls. Rapidly as possible we forced our way through the frantic masses and gained the Danville Railroad bridge, only to find it in flames at different points, and no evidence of trains on the southern side. Retracing our steps, we sought egress from the north side of the city. When crossing Main street we noticed two blocks below us, advancing on a trot, a regiment of Federal cavalry. They overtook us and rode by without observing us, although we were gorgeous in full uniform, but without side arms or accoutrements, save small haversacks, in which we had stored all the crackers we could get. By means of a locomotive, obtained under compulsion, and with the assistance of two army officers, we rode twenty-five miles from Richmond, and then, having no experienced engineer, and the steam being exhausted, we abandoned it on a side track and reached the Valley of Virginia after days of tiresome progress on foot.

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