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[111] to avoid the unnecessary sacrifice of those whose past services had endeared them to their countrymen.

By the terms of the agreement officers and men will be allowed to return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you His blessing and protection with unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration of myself, I bid you an affectionate farewell.

This occasioned quite a discussion in the party, some construing the order as including the whole army of Northern Virginia whether they were present or absent, while others understood it as meaning only those who were present at the place of surrender. The former contended that it was our duty to go to Lynchburg and give ourselves up to the Yankee authorities, as we were by the terms of that order undoubtedly included in the surrender. The latter argued that it was absurd to speak of a general surrendering men who were absent from him and beyond the pale of his authority. However neither party being able to convince the other it was finally agreed to separate, nine taking the road towards Lynchburg (J. W. Barnes, W. T. Eustace, S. B. Ayres, T. E. Ayres, S. A. Mosby, J. W. Seay, James T. Carter, F. J. Barnes, Jr., W. P. Gretter) and seven continuing their journey to North Carolina (E. G. Steane, Harrison Sublett, John W. Todd, Henry C. Barnes, Willis H. Page, Byrd G. Pollard, Harry C. Townsend). The party of seven proceeded towards Brady's Furnace, at which point we crossed the Buffalo river; here we found a very large iron furnace, two grist-mills and some government stores. At Mr. Brady's residence we obtained a very good dinner; after partaking of this repast we proceeded on our journey, and after travelling quite briskly through a very picturesque country arrived at the Natural Bridge: our party descended the steep road which leads down under the bridge and had quite a fine view of it. We sat down upon a ledge of rocks immediately under the bridge and spent about an hour in the inspection of this natural curiosity. Some of the boys cut their names upon the rocks and all of us drank of the waters of Cedar creek. When we passed over the bridge several of us obtained pieces of the arbor vitae that is so abundant

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