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Scouting in the dark.

On we rode in an entirely new country. None of us had ever been there before. We passed infantry in the road. Some were asleep by the side, while others were sitting around camp fires. Muskets were sometimes stacked, but not always by a good deal. Then the artillery—the guns were in the road, the horses fastened to the fences; some of the men awake; others [342] asleep, as the infantry; but there were no signs of anybody being on duty that I could see. From the condition of the troops, I had no idea we were near the enemy. They were completely worn out, and most of them enjoying a well-earned rest in sleep.

After leaving these troops all behind we continued our ride, expecting every few minutes to come upon our infantry picket, but none appeared. We passed some houses on the road, but not a single living soul did we see. We finally came to several houses together, stretched along the pike for a distance of two hundred yards. It was still dark, .and everything seemed to be perfectly still in these houses, no lights, no chickens crowing. As it was getting on towards morning I concluded this village must be deserted. This was the first impression we had that we must be nearing the enemy's lines, having seen no pickets and nobody on duty, even in the bivouac, I could hardly conceive of our being so near as it turned out to be.


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