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[161]

The coin.

On the 27th the midshipmen who desired them were offered furloughs, which were accepted by all but five Virginians—Quaries, Hudson, Slaughter, Carter and Fleming. The things were again put in wagons, and across the country we marched on the 29th of April to Abbeville, S. C., where the things were put on board some cars that stood at the depot. We had no guard duty to do after leaving Washington, Ga. On May the 2d President Davis and Staff and Cabinet reached Abbeville, coming, I imagined, from Charlotte, on horseback. On that day we five Virginians were discharged, as per the following order, probably the last official act of the navy of the Confederate States:

Abbeville, S. C., May 2, 1865.
Sir,—You are hereby detached from the Naval School, and leave is granted you to visit your home. You will report by letter to the Hon. Secretary of the Navy as soon as practicable. Paymaster Wheless will issue you ten days rations, and all quartermasters are requested to furnish transportation.

Respectfully, your obd't servant,

William H. Parker, Commanding.

In continuation, Mr. Fleming does not know when the money left Abbeville, but thinks it was on the morning of the 1st of May. Some money was paid to the soldiers at Greensboro, how much he did not know, but says he observed soldiers en route home rattling coins in their pockets and singing, ‘One dollar and fifteen cents for four years service.’ The President and staff left on the night of the 2d. A committee of five discharged midshipmen, through Captain Parker, requested Secretary Reagan before leaving to pay them in gold sufficient to enable them to reach home. He obtained several hundred dollars to be distributed pro rota among the naval officers, and the midshipmen received forty dollars apiece. They remained in Abbeville until May 7, when they started homeward. A few days before the remaining specie had been placed in charge of some general of the army, and there personal knowledge of it ends.

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