One incident which occurred on the journey I remember well.
A farmer was taken forcibly from his home and, despite the distress and entreaties of his wife and children, made prisoner and carried off. Alas, there were many such sad partings in those days!
It recalls to my mind a touching scene I witnessed at the beginning of the war. While watching the arrival of troops from the interior at one of the depots I noticed a company just arrived, brilliant in their new uniforms and burnished weapons,
accompanied by many friends who had come to see them off. I observed a very young girl bidding a youthful soldier goodbye.
With one hand grasping his musket, his head resting on her shoulders and hers on his regardless of surroundings, they sobbed as if their hearts would break.
I have often wondered if he passed through the war scatheless, or if his mortal remains were laid to rest, perhaps in some lonely field, perhaps by some bank
Whereon the wild thyme blows
And the nodding violet grows,
while for the return of her soldier boy the one faithful heart watched and waited for in vain.
We halted for a considerable time somewhere near the Appomattox
We crossed the river at night on a pontoon bridge strongly guarded, and covered with pine tags very thickly to deaden the sound.
A line of horsemen on either side, wedged closely together, effectually prevented any attempt to escape.
Every few steps as we passed down to the river and over the bridge was a sentinal.
The gloominess of the forest, the darkness of the night and the perfect stillness prevailing were oppressive to our spirits.
To me it looked as if we were approaching the gates of the Inferno, over whose forbidding portals was written ‘Who enters here leaves hope behind.’
Completely broken down, dirty and miserable, on reaching the enemy's camp we were shut up in a dirty negro cabin, where we spent a wretched night.
There was not even enough room for all to lie down upon the hard floor, and those who were wounded suffered a good deal, having to lie in a constrained posture all night.
When the morning came we were allowed to come out and wash our faces and otherwise refresh ourselves as best we could.
Our breakfast consisted chiefly of fat pork, hard tack, a few miserable Irish potatoes and sour krout.
Some got coffee, others less fortunate went without.
How we longed for some old Virginia
corn bread and bacon!
but alas, we might as well have wished for the heavens to drop manna.