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 His comrades consign his remains to the earth
With a tear and a sigh of regret,
From the land he could never forget.
He died far away from the land of his birth
'Mid the scenes of his boyhood his fancy last ranged
Ere the sorrows of life and its cares were ‘exchanged.’
The clods of the Island now rest on his head
That the fierce storms of battle had spared
On the field that was strewn with the dying and dead
Whose perils and dangers he shared.
From home and from all that he loved long estranged
Death pitied his fate and the Captive ‘exchanged.’
(Copied in my Autograph Book when on the Island.) The United States government had suspended the exchange of prisoners so long that it had become a general belief of the prisoners that they would be kept in prison until the close of the war. The renewal of exchange came as a great joy to us all. It was not only personal freedom we craved, but we desired to renew again our service in our armies in behalf of our country. There had been several departures of prisoners, when, on the morning of the 28th of February, 1865, I received notice to get ready to leave, and that I was to leave at once. In a few moments I had packed up some of my belongings—as much as I could carry in a dress suit case, and joined my departing comrades. We were taken by rail to Baltimore, and from thence by steamer down the Chesapeake Bay and up the James to Aiken's Landing, which place we reached on the 3rd of March. There was no incident on the way worthy of note. I recall, however, the deep emotion with which I greeted once again the shores and waters of dear Virginia. It brought back to me the impassioned cry of the men of Xenophon, ‘The Sea! The Sea!’ I recall as we came up Hampton Roads how intently I gazed towards this dear home city of ours, and how, as we entered the mouth of the James, I seemed to embrace in fond devotion the familiar shores of my native county. Ah! how we love our native land-its soil, its rivers, its fields, its forests! This love is God-implanted, and is, or should be, the rock-basis of all civic virtue.
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