to retrace our steps a portion of the way, and take another path.
When we had gone about five miles down this road, and passed about half a mile beyond Red Oak Church we halted for the night, it being about 2 A. M., and we having marched 23 hours almost without rest.
Moved at 7 A. M., and after a great deal of marching and countermarching over about a mile of the road, on which we camped last night, found out that we were cut off from General Lee
About this time a courier arrived from General Lee
with a dispatch for General Walker
This courier should have arrived last night, but had difficulty in getting through the Yankee
cavalry which are around us. The dispatch was in effect: ‘If you can join me with your artillery by daybreak you will be able to do me some service, as I will attempt to cut my way out on tomorrow.
If you find it impossible to do so, adopt the means which, in your judgment, shall seem proper under the circumstances.
Those in your command who may be in favor of continuing the contest may report themselves to the town of Lincolnton, in Lincoln county, North Carolina
, where they may receive further instructions.’
Before the receipt of this dispatch it was resolved as we could not get our guns out of the Yankee
meshes in which we were prisoned, we would dismount, spike and bury the pieces, cut down the carriages, disband the companies and disperse the men in small squads, with directions to report at the point indicated in General Lee
These resolutions were immediately carried into effect and were the occasion of many solemn and affecting scenes.
Our company divided itself into numerous squads, the members of which, with but few exceptions, were actuated by the determination to reach North Carolina
if it were possible.
The party with which I connected myself was composed of sixteen young men whose names are as follows: Edward G. Steane
, of Richmond
; Willie T. Eustace
, of Louisiana
; Harrison Sublett
; J. B. Ayers
; Henry C. Barnes
; S. E. Ayres
; Frank J. Barnes
; John W. Seay
; John W. Todd
; J. Walker Barnes
; Willie H. Page
; Bird G. Pollard
, King William; W. P. Gretter
; O. A. Mosby
, Louisa courthouse; Harry C. Townsend
; James S. Carter
These having elected E. G. Steane
as their leader struck out in the directionof James river
, intending to cross that and place it between them and the Yankees