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Midnight conference.

General Hampton occupied the house on the left side of the Hillsboro road, midway between the dirt road and the railroad—now the Southern—as his headquarters. It was three miles from the town, and owned and occupied by the family of Dr. Dickson, they having kindly given up to us the whole of the lower floor, retiring [167] to the rooms on the second floor. It was an old-fashioned house, the entrance being immediately upon the main or sitting room. Around this room we, the staff, slept, General Hampton occupying a small shed room in the rear. We also ate in this room, when we had anything to eat, and all the work of the adjutant-general, Major McClellan, was done here. But the long, old-fashioned family table was generally bare. It was in this room and around this table that, as we sat at supper one night in that fated April month of the year 1865, that General Hampton said to the officers of his staff: ‘Gentlemen, a council of war is to be held here to—night at 12 o'clock—you will take to the grass.’

That night a train came down the railroad from Haw River, a little before 12 o'clock, having on board General Joseph E. Johnston and staff, General Breckenridge, the Secretary of War; Judge Reagan, the Postmaster-General; Governor Vance, Mr. Leo D. Heartt, executive clerk, and others whose names I do not now recall. They were immediately conducted to the house, one hundred yards from the railroad.

At this council there were present, beside those named above, Generals M. C. Butler and Wheeler, of the cavalry corps, and others that I am now unable to remember. The object of this council was, of course, to decide on the terms of surrender of the army, and the purpose of holding the same at night to conceal, as far as possible, its object from the men of the command. As it was, many heard of it the following day, and left for home.

We rolled up in our blankets and were asleep under the trees in front of the house when the council was over, far into the small hours of the night. Some one pointed me out to Governor Vance when he came out of the council room, and he came and, without awakening me, got under my blanket beside me, preferring the open air and grass with a friend to the company of men who had treated him so cruelly at the council board, as I was afterwards to learn from his own lips. About daylight I awoke from cold, and rousing up, found that some fellow had appropriated all of my blanket and left me in my shirt-sleeves, my coat being under my head. Seeing it was Vance, I carefully covered him up, and filling my pipe sat and watched him, tenderly thinking of all his weariness and the great care that was weighing him down. When day came I did manage to secure for the Governor of my State a tin basin with water to wash his face, but he had to wipe it with his handkerchief.

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