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‘ [166] you see that Governor Graham had a letter in his pocket to Vance?’

In a moment the soldier was alive in him, and with an order in a sharp and decisive voice: ‘Go and get your horse, sir,’ he went into the house and began to write hurriedly. Calling for an orderly to accompany me, I soon reported for duty. He gave me two letters, one for Governor Graham and one to General Joseph E. Johnston. My verbal instructions were “to overtake Governor Graham and give him that letter” (of course a demand for the letter he had for Vance). If, not, to follow him to Hillsboro and if possible secure it before its delivery to Governor Vance. If I failed to do so, take Governor Graham on an engine to General Johnston at Haw River and deliver him with the second letter. The night was very dark and stormy and I could not ride as rapidly as I should have done, and, therefore, I did not overtake the Rockaway, but on my arrival went immediately to the station to secure an engine, and wire Haw River. Meeting Major Johnson, the quartermaster of the cavalry corps at the station, I told him of my disagreeable duty and begged him to accompany me; arriving at Governor Graham's residence we were promptly admitted, and found the Governor with Mrs. Graham in the sitting-room. He said: ‘My dear, you had better retire, as these gentlemen doubtless wish to see me on business.’ I silently handed the Governor General Hampton's letter. He read it; his face flushing angrily. Drawing himself up to his full height, he exclaimed: ‘I am ready to accompany you, sir!’ I said: ‘Governor, had you not better hand me that letter?’ He replied: ‘I have already delivered it to Governor Vance, sir!’ His whole manner then instantly changed and laying his hand on my shoulder he said in a feeling voice: ‘I understand, I know how you feel your position.’ I returned to the station, but having failed in my mission, did not feel it liberty to take the engine, but proceeded on my horse to General Johnston at Haw River in accordance with instructions to report facts, through rain, mud and the darkest night I ever saw. I rode the eighteen miles, arriving at daylight.


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